30 April 2013
Clinical Negligence Solicitor James Bell discusses NHS ombudsman’s comments
The Guardian reported on Saturday that Dame Julie Mellor, the NHS ombudsman, had concerns that problems at Mid Staffs may still be happening at other hospitals who were ignoring patients' complaints. "We believe that there must be a problem in the way that many hospital boards are looking at complaints, or are even not looking at them at all," Mellor said.
In his report in February into Mid Staffs, Robert Francis QC said the trust's board bore much of the blame for the poor care that contributed to an estimated 400 to 1,200 deaths between 2005 and 2009.
Mellor says the problems are repeated across the UK in that some hospital boards;
1. Do not take complaints seriously enough
2. Adopt a defensive response
3. Are often not even told of patients' concerns.
Even more worryingly, Mellor went on to say that, “We know from individual cases that organisations lie to us sometimes and that's not good governance. We have had cases of [medical] records being altered."
Complaints to the ombudsman about the NHS in England have risen from 4,257 in 2007-08 to 14,615 in 2011-12. Now that the NHS Ombudsman voiced her concerns then surely the outdated culture of the NHS complaints system has to change?
By Clinical Negligence Solicitor James Bell.
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