The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has released a report detailing the number of complaints about NHS trusts it received in 2014-2015. London North West Healthcare NHS Trust has the dubious honour of coming first in the list of acute Trusts, with Croydon Health Services NHS Trust and the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also making the top ten.
London North West Healthcare NHS Trust is one of the biggest trusts in the country, which was formed in October 2014 as a result of the merger of The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust and Ealing Hospital NHS Trust. It provides integrated hospital and community services across Brent, Ealing and Harrow, and runs hospitals including Northwick Park, Central Middlesex and Ealing.
The Ombudsman is the last port of call for NHS patients who are unhappy with the way in which their complaint has been handled at Trust level. It upheld 726 out of the 1652 complaints it investigated last year.
From our experience, historically Trusts have not always engaged in the complaints process as fully and frankly as they should, resulting in frustration and disappointment for patients who are seeking answers.
The new statutory duty of candour, introduced in April this year, places Trusts under a legal duty to inform and apologise to patients if there have been mistakes in their care, and in theory, it should change the way in which hospitals investigate complaints. Given that the majority of referrals to the Ombudsman relate to amongst other things, a lack of communication, the duty of candour should lead to more complaints being resolved at Trust level. The proof of the pudding will be in next years’ figures