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Incompetent and Inadequate Complaint Handling

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Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

What management practices and procedures are in place to prevent

a poor anaysis of the issues,

mismanage.ment and a complete lack of professionalism

in Health Service investigations ?

I am pinpointing issues such as

1 Ignoring the actual Complaint

Simplifying the specific issues

and diluting them into a generalised 'whinge'.

The Investigator assuming that the actual issues had been already answered by Trust.

Details being passed over and the core Complaint not being addressed.

Prejudging the issues.

2. Secrecy

The PHSO refusing to indentify their Medical Adviser

or release any details of their opinion.

The person at the PHSO who deals with Data Protection

(retaining information)

also responding to Freedom of Information requests

(transmitting information).

This paradox has might clearly confuse them

and they may allow the maximum permitted time

to elapse before refusing to answer an FOI request.

3. Ignoring independently verifiable facts

Vast swathes of evidence can be ignored in the investigation.

Not taking into account the evidence

of independent witnesses or subject matter experts

and refusing to contact them

4. Refusing to correct the Draft Report,

even when it is inconsistent, incoherent

and contains palpable errors

Totally ignoring any feedback on the Draft.

The Investigator denying any possibility of a dialogue.

The consultation period being non-existent.

Making sarcastic references to the Complainant's disability,

and

despite any objections, retaining them in the Final Report.

The Final Report being simply a carbon copy of the Draft.

5. Bias

The Report is a simple "cut and paste"

of the Trust's original response to the Complaint

even when this was 18 months ago

and has since been withdrawn.

No member of staff from the Trust being even named in the Report.

The relationship between the patient and the Trust not being examined.

The patient being judged, not the issues of the Complaint

The Report denying that any issues exist.

The Investigator not justifying any of their findings.

6 Refusal to communicate

During this process, the PHSO consistently

refusing to enter any constructive dialogue.

e.g. mentionimg terms like "evidence"

while concealing whatever it is they're relying upon.

Refusing to answer all requests for clarification.

7. Mismanaging expectations

Prior to the beginning of the investigation,

a Complaint can successfully pass through several stages of analysis

and verification.

I understand that these are designed to filter out

any groundless or ambiguous Complaints.

Therefore, one can anticipate that the Complaint

that actually gets to the investigation stage

had a good chance of being upheld.

However, many Complaints are not even partially upheld.

even when the Trust has admitted breaking its own procedural

and r clinical rules,

or even the NHS Constitution !

When the issues raised in the Complaint

such as failings in the key areas of

Safety

Effectiveness

Responsiveness

and Leadership

have been criticised by the Care Quality Commission,

the PHSO still manages to ignore them !

So, in conclusion,

what safeguards are in place to prevent any of the above ?

Yours faithfully,

Kim Rathbone

foiofficer@ombudsman.org.uk, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman


Thank you for your e-mail to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. This return e-mail shows that we have received your correspondence.

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phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

Looks like you have had the complete package from PHSO there Kim. Maybe check out phsothefacts.com

E. Colville left an annotation ()

Have PHSO themselves become masters of administrative gamesmanship and potential maladministrators?

In 1975 Geoffrey Marshall, one of Britain's leading constitutional theorists, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituari... facetiously suggested 15 maxims for the potential maladministrator which give the flavour of administrative gamesmanship:
-Don't volunteer written explanations of decisions
-Don't allow access to technical, legal or other advice received
-Frequently change policies randomly
-Arrange for high position turnover so that different people deal with the same case
-Delay acting on favourable jursiditctional points until after expiry of possible client remedies
-Ensure overlapping responsibilities with easy coordination
-Don't record (but misfile) correspondence
-Don't volunteer assistance
-Leave uncertainty about conclusions reached and next steps
-Draw out consultation
-Refer to being overworked
-Jumble communications
-Keep files moving
-Open multiple files without cross-referencing
-Arrange for occasional erroneous release of libellous internal memoranda

Jt Oakley left an annotation ()

Wow..good old Geoffrey.

Must have had his crystal ball attuned to the PHSO.

Thank you E Colville.

phsothefacts Pressure Group left an annotation ()

He would turn in his grave to see what it has become. Just goes to show that you can take an honest idea and create a dishonest institution from it.

Colin Hammonds left an annotation ()

....i think the PHSO are doing a wonderful and fantastic job, they are doing just what they are set up to do....what's more they are doing it all completely openly...they are without doubt an institution saving the establishment millions in terms of compensation and restructuring various services found to be at fault.....they have saved money in terms of cost by simply throwing the complaint in the bin or by simply being misleading, equivocal or just wearing complainants down..all of this has been achieved with the minimum of cost relative to the amount of complaints received......the PHSO are being so effective that people are now avoiding the PHSO completely and dropping their complaints......no complaints = nothing wrong.....!

foiofficer, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

4 Attachments

Dear Ms/Mr Rathbone

 

Your information request (FDN-238970)

 

I am writing further to your email of 3 November 2015, in which you asked
a number of questions.

 

PHSO’s policies can be found online as part of our Publication Scheme at
the following address:
[1]www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/being-open-and-transparent/our-publication-scheme/our-policies-and-procedures

 

In addition, I have attached PHSO’s Quality and Service Standards which
set out the standards we expect and shows how they link to our
[2]Strategic Plan.  You can also find information about the [3]Ombudsman’s
Principles on our website.

 

The legislation which governs the Ombudsman’s work, the Health Service
Commissioners Act 1993 and the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967, is
also available online at: [4]www.legislation.gov.uk.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received from PHSO, it is
open to you to complain about that service.  Further information about how
to do this is available [5]here.

 

If you are unhappy with the way an information request has been handled,
it is open to you to request an Internal Review.  Beyond that, you can
complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office ([6]www.ico.org.uk).

 

I hope that this information is helpful.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Aimee Gasston

Freedom of Information / Data Protection Officer

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

W: [7]www.ombudsman.org.uk

 

Please email the FOI/DP team at: [8][email address]

 

Follow us on

[9]fb  [10]twitter  [11]linkedin

 

From: Kim Rathbone [mailto:[FOI #300499 email]]
Sent: 03 November 2015 14:06
To: foiofficer
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Incompetent and Inadequate
Complaint Handling

 

Dear Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

What management practices and procedures are in place to prevent

a poor anaysis of the issues,

mismanage.ment and a  complete lack of professionalism

in Health Service investigations ?

I am pinpointing issues such as

1 Ignoring  the actual Complaint

Simplifying  the  specific issues

and diluting  them into a generalised 'whinge'.

The Investigator assuming that the actual issues had been already answered
by Trust.

Details being passed over and the core Complaint not being addressed.

Prejudging  the issues.

2. Secrecy

The PHSO refusing to indentify their Medical Adviser

or release any details of their opinion.

The person at the PHSO who deals with Data Protection

(retaining information)

also responding  to Freedom of Information requests

(transmitting information).

This paradox has might clearly confuse  them

and they may allow the maximum permitted time

to elapse before refusing to answer an FOI request.

3. Ignoring  independently verifiable facts

Vast swathes of evidence can be ignored in the investigation.

Not taking  into account the evidence

of independent witnesses or subject matter experts

and refusing to contact them

4. Refusing to correct the Draft Report,

even when it is inconsistent, incoherent

and contains palpable errors

Totally ignoring any  feedback on the Draft.

The Investigator denying any possibility of a dialogue.

The consultation period being non-existent.

Making  sarcastic references to the Complainant's  disability,

and

despite any objections,  retaining them in the Final Report.

The Final Report being simply a carbon copy of the Draft.

5. Bias

The Report is a simple "cut and paste"

of the Trust's original response to the Complaint

even when this was 18 months ago

and has since been withdrawn.

No member of staff from the Trust being  even named in the Report.

The relationship between the patient and the Trust not being examined.

The patient being judged, not the issues of the Complaint

The Report denying  that any issues exist.

The Investigator not justifying  any of their  findings.

6 Refusal to communicate

During this process, the PHSO consistently

refusing  to enter any constructive dialogue.

e.g.  mentionimg  terms like "evidence"

while concealing whatever it is they're relying upon.

Refusing to answer all requests for clarification.

7. Mismanaging  expectations

Prior to the beginning of the investigation,

a Complaint can successfully pass through several stages of analysis

and verification.

I understand that these are designed to filter out

any groundless or ambiguous Complaints.

Therefore, one can  anticipate that the Complaint

that actually gets to the investigation stage

had a good chance  of being upheld.

However, many Complaints are not even partially upheld.

even when the Trust has admitted breaking its own procedural

and r clinical rules,

or even the NHS Constitution !

When the issues raised in the Complaint

such as failings in the key areas of

Safety

Effectiveness

Responsiveness

and Leadership

have been criticised by the Care Quality Commission,

the PHSO still manages to ignore them !

So, in conclusion,

what safeguards are in place to prevent any of the above ?

Yours faithfully,

Kim Rathbone

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