Yesterday I told you about two errors that were made with Joshua’s anti epileptic medication; I made an official complaint to the Chief Executive of the NHS Trust after I blogged as I decided that this error should not be swept under the carpet. I now have three live complaints with our local NHS Trust – two were made back in July and have still not been addressed and so I do not hold out much hope for a quick response to my letter, even though this is the first complaint that has been about a life-threatening error rather than pure poor customer service.
We are told that the British do not like to complain, that we tolerate bad service and tend to vote with our feet rather than making a fuss, but with the NHS, we do not have a choice, short of moving house to try another Trust or paying to get private healthcare. It is for this reason and because it is supposed to be a ‘service’ to which every UK resident is entitled, that I do write complaints. I do not want someone else to have the same bad experiences as me and therefore I feel that I owe it to them to point out their shortcomings , to give them the opportunity to make improvements. If we do not complain then , in my eyes, we cannot expect anything to change and it will continue on unchecked and others will receive the same poor treatment that we have experienced. I am not seeking a compensation claim, I simply wish it to be acknowledged that things should not happen and that processes are put in place to avoid reoccurrence.
The NHS is very good at publishing how we can complain too, they have their PALS teams and they publish the timescales in which they will respond to a complaint too. But I made a complaint immediately after a hospital appointment back in July and it was acknowledged and I was told that I would have a response, once it had been investigated , within five working days. I have chased my response twice now, over two months later, so the schedule is not adhered to and there do not seem to be any consequences for that failure.
I sent my email of complaint yesterday at 5.53am to the PALS team, the secretary of the Trust’s Chief Executive as identified on the Trust website and to our own surgery Practice Manager. Within 30 minutes I had received a response from all three : The secretary is on holiday until next week, the surgery email was returned as undelivered and PALS acknowledged my email but warned me that they were very busy, so none of that bodes well for a swift investigation and resolution of my complaint.
I will however not let this deter me and I will, if necessary, chase a response until I get satisfaction and the right care for my son. Joshua does not have a voice and therefore, it is my duty as his mother to speak up on his behalf and it is that responsibility that drives me forward. watch this space and I will let you know if any good comes from this latest, andmost serious, complaint.