Grantham hospital has apologised to anybody who has had cause to complain about it services following last week’s ombudsman’s report.
The trust which runs Grantham hospital received 712 complaints last year, of which 94 were sent to the ombudsman who investigated 14 at the highest level.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman fully or partially upheld five complaints against United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) during 2013-14. Two per cent of written complaints to the trust were investigated by the ombudsman.
The ombudsman has published the Complaints about acute trusts 2013-14 so trusts can identify regular themes and recurring problems and take action on them.
In response to the report, Pauleen Pratt, Acting Chief Nurse at the trust, said: “As an organisation we take all feedback from our patients and their relatives or friends seriously. We welcome and use feedback to ensure we achieve high standards of care and a positive experience for patients and their families. We are also aware most people don’t raise their concerns lightly.
“We apologise to any complainants who have had cause to complain and then experience delays in our complaints responses. We recognise this is unacceptable but we have plans in place to clear these delays and ensure complaints are dealt with effectively and in a timely manner. We want to improve our services so our local population have confidence in us and we respond to concerns and complaints in a timely way.
“As part of our quality improvement programme we have reviewed and redesigned our complaints handling process, working closely with patients and ex-complainants. Our new approach, called See it My Way, focuses on responsiveness, openness and transparency and involves the patient or complainant being central to the process.
“We have also introduced a patient advice and liaison service (PALS) and site based complaints teams across our three main hospital sites and reviewed the way we document and respond to complaints. As part of this new model we have recruited new staff and have trained staff on our expectations and principles.
“The Ombudsman’s report shows the number of complaints received by ULHT is largely in line with other large NHS Trusts. Of the 94 enquiries received by the Ombudsman during 2013-2014, they investigated 14 and the number of cases per 100 written complaints was 2.0, below the national average.
“Whilst we cannot disclose the detail of the complaints due to patient confidentiality, we can confirm that the issues raised by the Ombudsman on cases that were upheld ranged from communication; delays in complaints handling and the need for more information to be given to patients about their complaints.
“As a Trust we are doing all we can to improve quality and reduce the need for patients and families to complain. When we have got it wrong we aim to do all we can to resolve someone’s complaint or concern. We would encourage any patient, relative or carer who has any concerns to raise them with a senior member of staff during their stay in hospital or to contact the PALS or complaints teams at the Trust. All areas have a matron who will make themselves available to meet patients or families. All complaints and actions are discussed internally, reported upon and monitored so we can make further improvements to our care and services. We want our patients to be confident we will learn from any feedback.”