Making A Complaint

© Copyright 2019 Grief Probate Journey Blog *PLEASE NOTE THIS BASED ON UK LAW AND ALSO OUR OWN EXPERIENCE*

In this topic we talk about making a complaint. This is making a complaint to an NHS Hospital. Please see making a complaint which covers:

  1. Our story
  2. Advice on making an NHS complaint 
  3. Tips on NHS Complaints Procedure Process
  4. Tips for making a complaint 
  5. Our final thoughts

1. Our story

We as a family have come to realise that when it comes to bereavement, organisations do not always appear to know how to handle this matter very well.

To list a few things, they can appear:

  • Desensitised
  • Unempathetic
  • Blasé

None of this is helpful or useful for you when going through such a thing. We were subject to such treatment when:

  • Dealing with the hospital in which our Dad was an inpatient.
  • Dealing with the coroner officer
  • Registering our Dad’s death
  • Funeral home when arranging the headstone

This is just to list a few to give an example. It’s been what we deal with the majority of the time through this process.

The advice we would give if a loved one is in hospital/care home:

Always speak up if you are:

  • Unhappy about anything
  • Something doesn’t feel right (trust your gut instinct. If you feel something is wrong, it probably is)
  • Stand your ground in situations
  • Seek/gain legal advice (if it becomes necessary)
  • Research as much as you can
  • Knowledge is key
  • Know your rights
  • Keep a record of everything. Emails sent/received, phone calls made, documentation sent/ received
  • Be prepared for your expectations to sometimes not be managed (unfortunately, this is an ongoing occurrence for us most of the time).
  • Communication is key. Keep in contact with everyone involved. This is in the hope you will be made aware of what is going on in the background
  • Try to ensure your back is covered. Whenever possible try to get things in writing. No one will look out for you except for you.

We would also advise that you :

  • Are persistent in telling hospital staff the medical history of your loved one. You know them better than anyone. No matter what the medical condition, you know the character of your loved one.
  • Let your voice be heard. Even if you feel you are repeating yourself and no one is listening. Do not give up.

If you should ever find yourself in a situation where you are making a complaint of any kind we would advise:

  • Stay strong
  • Be determined
  • Try to not lose hope
  • Remember why you are doing it
  • Do not allow yourself to believe you do not have a case
  • Keep going as long as you possibly can.

In our situation due to the circumstances that occurred in the hospital, we cannot accept what happened and are currently in the process of making a formal complaint to the hospital (in which our Dad was an inpatient). We submitted our formal complaint in February 2018, We have gone through all the required stages of the process and the complaint is currently with the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman.

We really do not know what the outcome of our complaint will be, but the reality for us is this complaint was the only option. We do not see how we could be going about our daily lives knowing how terrible the end of our Dad’s life was due to the hands of a hospital and we didn’t try to get justice for him, he deserves it. But this is not just about our Dad, it’s for people who may have suffered before him, since he’s passed away and future. “Elderly” life is still a life. All lives matter.

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2. Advice on making an NHS complaint 

Below are some tips/advice we would offer for making a complaint of this kind:

  • Initially raise any concerns to hospital staff on the ward
  • Request meeting with ward staff (if necessary)
  • Request an MDT meeting (the full medical team should be present for this)

2.1 If you are not satisfied after having done all the above, the next steps would be:

2.2 You could also seek advice from:

2.3 If this does not satisfy you the next steps would be to seek legal advice. The first stage in this process would be to seek help from an Independent body to the NHS. Please see an example below:

  • Pohwer are a charity that provides information, advocacy and advice services across England, offering direct and local support via Professionals and Volunteers. Their independent, free services reach individuals struggling with challenges in their lives”.

“Pohwer can assist you to take your complaint further within the hospital. This will be submitted to the hospital’s complaints department”.

2.4 If you are still not satisfied after this stage, the next stage would be:

“The office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman emphasises that it looks into complaints “that government departments, their agencies and some other public bodies in the UK – and the NHS in England – have not acted properly or fairly or have provided a poor service”.

2.5 To complain about a UK government organisation or the NHS in England you can:

  1. “Visit our ‘Making a complaint page’ and click on ‘Can we look into your complaint?'”
  2. “Call our Customer Helpline on 0345 015 4033 from 8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday, except bank holidays”.

“The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman can also order financial compensation, but this is normally lower than a court could award. Therefore, if the amount of financial compensation you’re looking for is high, you might have to take legal action”.

“If, in the end, the response is delayed for any reason, you should be kept informed. If you made a complaint but do not receive a response or decision for more than 6 months, you should be told the reason for the delay. Once your complaint has been investigated, you’ll receive a written response”.

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3. Tips on NHS Complaints Procedure Process

3.1 How do I complain about pals?

“The complaints department can be contacted on 0161 604 5800 or alternatively please visit the complaints section of the website. Call 0161 604 5897 between 09.30 hours and 16.30 hours Monday to Friday or drop into one of the new front of house PALS offices at each hospital”.

3.2 What is classed as medical negligence UK?

“(12th November 2013. By law, your medical treatment includes a duty of care by the appropriate healthcare professional treating you, whether it be a surgeon, dentist or doctor, for example. Negligence means they have failed in that duty of care and it caused injury or harm to the patient being treated.12 Nov 2013″.

3.3 How do I complain about NHS negligence?

Depending on what happened and what you want to achieve, you may have different options to make a complaint:

  1. “use the NHS complaints procedure’.
  2. “Take legal action, for example, for clinical negligence, discrimination or for breach of your human rights”.
  3. “Report concerns to the regulatory body, the General Medical Council”.

More items…

3.4 How long does the NHS have to respond to a complaint?

“If, in the end, the response is delayed for any reason, you should be kept informed. If you made a complaint but do not receive a response or decision for more than 6 months, you should be told the reason for the delay. Once your complaint has been investigated, you’ll receive a written response”.

3.5 Can I sue the NHS?

“Can I Sue the NHS for Negligence. The above is a daunting and difficult question. … However, if you believe that you have suffered injury, pain or loss due to a specific act of a medical practitioner or the general level of care received, then you may have cause for a clinical negligence claim against the NHS.22 May 2015″. 3.6 Does NHS offer compensation?

“Call us on 01926 880726 so we can provide immediate advice on whether you have a claim for NHS compensation, at no cost to you. There is no doubting the NHS provides an excellent service to millions of patients every year”. 3.7 How much compensation do you get for medical negligence?

“Cases of medical negligence can range from anything from £1000* to amounts exceeding £200, 000* and much more depending on the severity of the case, a compensation calculator can assist in giving an estimate to how much medical negligence amount can be awarded”. ^Top

4. Tips for making a complaint 

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5. Our Final Thoughts

In addition to the hospital complaint, we have also made others. Through my daily notes is how we have been able to make the complaints that we have. We are not pleased that we have had to make so many complaints. This was never in our plans. However, we also didn’t expect to be treated the way we have been by professional organisations in a time of going through grief. To name a few feelings we’ve felt astounded, amazed, disbelief.

It has been a long journey and an emotional journey in our plight to get our complaint heard. However, no matter what we will not give up, we will continue our best efforts to get the justice our Dad so rightfully deserves.

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3 thoughts on “Making A Complaint

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