Health trust gets 31 complaints

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

PATIENTS made dozens of complaints to a Government watchdog against health trusts in Hartlepool and East Durham.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman received 31 complaints from patients about North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust in the last year.

Out of the 31, the watchdog had to intervene on four occasions to discuss with the Trust ways to come to a satisfactory conclusion with the patients involved.

And on two occasions a formal and “in-depth” investigation was carried out by Government officers in order to address the concerns of the patient.

NHS Hartlepool had seven complaints referred to the Ombudsman, but there was no action needed by officers in any of the cases.

This was due to watchdog bosses ruling that enough had already been done by the trust in the first instance.

Eleven patients complained to the parliamentary watchdog about the North East Ambulance Service, which runs services in Hartlepool and East Durham, but again it was felt that there was no need for any action to be taken.

The same was felt for Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, which had 18 complaints forwarded to the Ombudsman, but no action was taken in any of them.

The watchdog, which offers a free and independent service for anyone who is unhappy with NHS services, said it has seen a rise across the country in the way complaints are dealt with by NHS organisations.

David Emerton, medical director at North Tess and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We pride ourselves in having a very responsive compliments, comments and complaints service and operate a policy of being open with our patients and family members.

“We are committed to local and timely resolution of complaints, however, as part of the process of responding to complaints we clearly communicate the option of contacting the Ombudsman directly if they wish. This is reflected in the number of complaints received.”

Nationally the new figures revealed that the number of complaints made to the Ombudsman increased by eight per cent.

The NHS received 150,859 complaints between 2011 and 2012, of those, 16,337 patients or family members were dissatisfied with the way the NHS tried to resolve their concerns and referred the complaint on to the Health Service Ombudsman.

There were 1,523 complaints about the NHS not acknowledging mistakes in care, according to a report by the ombudsman.

And more than 1,600 people complained about inadequate remedies being offered, including inadequate apologies.