Complaining about NHS – a.k.a. Beating your head against a brick wall

IS IT WORTH COMPLAINING?

NHS are past masters at “dealing” with Complaints

They’ve got biggest carpet in the World nhs

to sweep them under

Current Situation

Go to

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0528014/select-committees-live-nhs-complaints-committee

to see what is happening in current session in front of Public Administration Committee – where three very lucid  representatives of patient’s associations are giving evidence on this.  All three give it straight to the committee, how convoluted and unhelpful is current procedure.

Lawyers get a lot

The NHS has thousands of staff on the payroll whose job it is to send you round and round, until eventually you give up. Even so, enough people stuck it out, and last year the NHS paid out around £1.3 BILLION – of which lawyers seemed to have picked up around 20 – 25% of the payout.  No wonder there are so many glossy ads for their service on TV.

But for the ordinary patient, who just wants to make things better for the next patient, it’s a bleak outlook.   No wonder so many give up in frustration.

Think creatively to make complaints stick

If you just want to get things improved, it needs lateral thinking.  PALS now doesn’t seem to have any teeth, and a letter to my MP just produced a reply saying he thought Minister of Health  was doing a very good job.  He would – wouldn’t he – as Mandy Rice Davies famously remarked.

Roy Lilley says way to complain is to use Twitter.  In certain cases it has produced instant action.

Missing Ashya KingOr you could copy the incredible King family, having to deal with being told their youngest, Ashya, only had 4 months to live.  So father Brett went on Internet, found out about Proton Beam Therapy, posted a video on YouTube to tell story – and has had over 1 million hits.  After NHS sent police after family, when they took Ashya out of hospital to fly abroad for treatment, a series of very articulate videos told the story.

Upshot was NHS agreed to pay for treatment abroad.

And if you don’t believe this, when I made a mild complaint at the way the hospital where I was being treated, said they didn’t know anything about going blind when on Tamoxifen. so I went to France  – where they do know – I was suddenly confronted in a committee meeting by 30 fellow members.  They rounded on me and said I wasn’t being supportive of the hospital. No mention that the hospital hadn’t supported me!  So I resigned.

With Ashya a final video shows a happy child – but suddenly this very articulate family has been silenced.  One wonders why, and hopes the little boy is OK.

If you want to use Twitter, YouTube, etc., and don’t know how to – ask around the neighbourhood.  It’s teenagers who are best at this.

NHS ombudsman ‘failing families’

More than 40% of NHS investigations into patient complaints are not good enough, according to a review by the office of the Health Service Ombudsman. In a review of 150 cases into allegations of avoidable harm or death, it found failings in the handling of 61 complaints by NHS trusts in England. The review looked at the quality of the investigations and the evidence relied on, as well as statements and records.

The government said it was working to create a “more open NHS culture”.

Ombudsman Dame Julie Mellor will appear next week before the public administration select The Ombudsman - Dame Julie Mellor DBE

committee – which is looking into the issue of NHS complaints and clinical failure.

When I came across the Ombudsman, I was delighted that they thought my complaint was serious enough to take up on my behalf.  Silly me.  One year later, as I threw their latest letter into the waste paper basket (most appropriate place), asking yet again for informtion which I had already supplied, realisation dawned.  They had the funding to employ a massive team of lawyers, specifically to blind me with science.  I was wasting my time – they could go on and on, asking again and again going round asking same questions but in a different format, until one gives up.

Llike thousands of others:  I didn’t want compensation, just better treatment for those coming after me.

The Department of Health said it would be announcing measures to reduce avoidable death
and harm soon. I am NOT holding my breath,
Especially since I have just received a letter in answer to a complaint to NHS England.  Their method of dealing with these is to disregard my letter – with explanation – and send me a copy of one my GP sent to me – where he got totally wrong end of stick, told me to shut up, and proceeded to quote from another letter dealiing with a totally different complaint.  I could get evidence together AGAIN, and write back – but they will come up with another way of stalling.
At least the patient reps are telling the Select Committee what is going on – but doubt if they will listen.

Case Study

One reader has emailed to say he has been told by Surgeon X:

“We won’t do anything for you, so why not read this book…….?”

One of her colleagues  told him anyone over 60 isn’t worth saving . “ You’ve lived for
more than 60 years , so what are you complaining about ?

Thanks to a huge amount of surfing the Internet, he now has two options

  • Go to Europe for Proton Beam Therapy
  • He has an appointment with a specialist here (on NHS) who says he possibly can help

Either way, he has an appointment with Surgeon X to get his notes, and is taking his Solicitor along with him.  What a way to have to behave when visiting a doctor, whom one would assume was there to help their patient.

Or think about your MEP

MEP?  Yes the one who represents you in Brussels as a Member of European Parliament.  I found mine much more effective than my MP.  But either way, the hospital or NHS servihas to take notice, by law.  The NHS doesn’t like all the paperwork that goes with a complaint from one of these officials.  So find out which is more sympathetic, and USE them!

Things might be looking upi

The NHS has realised it can’t go on behaving like a Communist dictatorship for much longer.Currently it is being rapped severely over the knuckles by Parliamentary officials, and hounded mercilessly by The Patients’ Association – so if you have a complaint, it’s very worth while contacting them.

Good luck!

 

 

 

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