Stevenage’s Lister Hospital trust complaints upheld by NHS watchdog

PUBLISHED: 08:30 18 November 2016

The NHS complaints watchdog has upheld a series of complaints about the East and North Herts NHS Trust.

The NHS complaints watchdog has upheld a series of complaints about the East and North Herts NHS Trust.

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Complaints about hospital staff using incorrect pain relief, losing patient notes and keeping poor records are not being dealt with properly by the NHS, a report has revealed.

Complaints about hospital staff using incorrect pain relief, losing patient notes and keeping poor records are not being dealt with properly by the NHS, a report has revealed.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Julie Mellor, has published a report containing unresolved complaints brought to her for investigation, covering October to December last year, which she has upheld. They include several concerning the East and North Herts NHS Trust, which manages Stevenage’s Lister Hospital.

A doctor told nurses to give a dying woman continuous pain relief through a syringe driver, which delivers pain relief under the skin, but nurses ignored the doctor and administered pain relief a different way.

The woman’s grandson said his grandmother consequently suffered severe pain before she died.

The ombudsman concluded that “the NHS trust did not always provide reasonable care and treatment” and the nurses’ actions fell below standards.

There was also a case involving a man in his 80s with advanced Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure, pressure ulcers, poor blood circulation in his legs and gangrene who died a month after being discharged from hospital.

The ombudsman found there were numerous failings in care and record keeping. She said “there were missed opportunities to take action” – although the failings did not hasten death – and the man’s two daughters were given £700 by the NHS trust.

A woman’s questions about her father’s care following a two-month hospital stay, and subsequent death after discharge, remained unanswered after records were lost. The ombudsman said: “She was left not knowing what had happened.”

In 2014, and not included in the report, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust was investigated after a woman in her 90s fractured her leg because an ambulance crew did not use a hoist. The woman later died, with the fractured leg a contibuting factor to her death, and her daughter was paid £7,000 in compensation.

Ms Mellor said: “Too many complaints are coming to us which could have been resolved more quickly by the NHS.

“When people pluck up the courage to complain they are all too often met with defensive and inadequate responses.

“Complaints need to be dealt with properly, so people are given answers and to help prevent any failures from happening again.”

An NHS trust spokesman said: “In each case, the complaints were upheld only partially. However, there were aspects that were not to a high enough standard. We were more than happy to take the actions recommended and make sure lessons learnt were applied going forward.”

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