Upheld complaints

Upheld Complaints – March 2019

Following the inquiry into patient care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Robert Francis recommended that NHS trusts should publish information about upheld complaints on their website. As part of our commitment to share information and improve learning, Mersey Care NHS Trust publishes upheld complaints every month on our website.

Every year the trust receives approximately 500 complaints from service users, relatives and carers in both local and high secure services.

If a complaint is received which relates to one specific issue, and substantive evidence is found to support the allegation made, the complaint is recorded as ‘upheld’.

If a complaint is made regarding more than one issue, and one or more of these issues are upheld, the complaint is recorded as ‘partially upheld’. 

Where there is no evidence to support any allegations made, the complaint is recorded as ‘not upheld’.

Sometimes it’s possible to resolve a complaint by arranging a meeting with the complainant and those involved in the care of the service user, for example, the consultant psychiatrist, team leader or service manager. Other times, it’s more appropriate to formally investigate a complaint, after which a response letter is sent to the complainant from the Chief Executive.

It is the responsibility of the Complaints Department to identify any trends or themes within particular services, on certain wards etc., to see what action can be taken by the trust to prevent the same issues recurring in the future.


A service user made a Subject Access Request, however the documentation went missing whilst being transferred between sites. The request may have been accidentally shredded.

Action taken: The internal mail bag has been moved away from the confidential waste bin.


Service user was forced to inject himself after district nurses ailed to visit him.

Action taken: District nurses have been reminded of the importance of ensuring service users have contact numbers for the team should they have any concerns.


A service user’s daughter stated that the district nurses who attended to her father during end of life care had poor communication skills.

Action taken: The team will carry out a training needs analysis and ensure that any required training is facilitated.


A service user’s son-in-law raised concerns about the way she was discharged from the ward.

Action taken: The Mersey Care Community Assessment Team will meet with staff on the ward to clarify their role and responsibilities when a patient is discharged from hospital. The will also ensure that information leaflets are given out to patients and or relatives.


Son of service user states his mothers confidentiality has been breached as information regarding her care was sent to wrong address and opened by a third party.

Action taken: The medical transcriptionist has been reminded to check letters before they are sent out to ensure that addresses are correct.


Service user’s husband has raised a number of concerns regarding his wife's care and treatment.

Action taken: It was found that cups on the ward were unclean, these have now been replaced.


A family member stated that members of staff had made inappropriate comments towards a service user and refused to assist with her personal hygiene.

Action taken: A written apology has been sent to the service user and her relative.


A service user states that her experience of the Trust has been negative.

Action taken: Staff to have access to training to utilise the gym equipment.  The psychology department and inpatient ward to look at developing robust pathways for transition from inpatient stay to community.


Service user raised concerns that he did not receive a text to notify him of his appointment. He was also unhappy that a member of staff had written to his GP with concerns for his safety.

Action taken: When a patient is not in agreement with the suggested risk management plan an attempt should be made to agree a more personalised alternative safety plan. Clinical Supervisors and therapists should be alert to the dangers of a breakdown of the therapeutic relationship so that an appropriate retrieval plan can be considered and agreed with the client at an early stage.


A service user’s property has gone missing from the ward.

Action taken: Staff to be reminded of the policy for recording service user property.


Service user stated that he received no support when in in crisis, his calls were not returned and that staff at A&E were rude and abrupt.

Action taken: A new telephone system is to be installed at the unit. The A&E Liaison team are to discuss ways in which they can make it easier for service users to be assessed.


Service user is unhappy that she was not made aware of appointments and the health visitor often arrived at her home unannounced.

Action taken: Information regarding future appointments should be shared with service user’s at the end of each home visit.


Service user stated that whilst having a blood test the nurse hit an artery resulting in bruising.

Action taken: The nurse’s competencies to be assessed and staff to be reminded to give out aftercare advice leaflets.