Upheld complaints

Upheld Complaints - August 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.


The following complaints were closed and upheld/partially upheld in August 2019:

  • A relative has raised concerns about the length of time the service user had to wait before an inpatient bed became available.

Appropriate care was provided whilst a bed was identified and a written apology has been provided.

  • A relative raised concerns that whilst the service user was receiving treatment at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital his belongings went missing from his room at Clock View.

The service user has been compensated for the cost of the missing items and an apology has been provided.

  • Service user raised concerns that he waited an excessive amount of time for a Psychology referral only to then be told that the referral had not been made.

There is now a formal management system within the Trust’s clinical recording database which ensures that when referrals are made they are allocated to a psychologist and there is clinical oversight to ensure they are followed up.

  • Service user raised concerns that he was advised that he would be moving to another ward.

A written apology was provided due to the lack of communication the service user received.

  • A relative stated that she raised concerns regarding deterioration in her mother’s mental health in confidence, however the mental health practitioner disclosed this to her mother.

The Local Division will consider facilitating learning events on how to maintain service user confidentiality whilst sensitively supporting carers and families.

  • A relative raised concerns that the family were not included in her mother’s discharge planning.

Discharge arrangements to be more robust with family fully engaged where appropriate.

  • A service user raised concerns that a member of staff was rude to him.

Mediation between the service user and staff member was agreed and the member of staff will also receive conflict resolution training.

  • A relative stated raised concerns that medication was administered to her father for three days post after the twenty eight day cut off.

This was discussed during the District Nurse/Community Matron Safety Huddle and a written apology was sent to the service user’s family.

  • A service user reported that her out patient appointment was late starting and therefore she did not have time to fully discuss her issues with her consultant.

A written apology was sent to the patient.

Upheld Complaints – July 2019

  • A relative has raised concerns about the care and treatment provided by her Community Mental Health Team. She stated that a referral was not made as promised and the level of support was not adequate.

Service users are to be made aware of the referral process and the likely waiting times.

  • A consultant made inappropriate comments during a service user’s outpatient appointment.

The service user was given a written apology from the Trust and the complaint was escalated to senior managers for further action.

  • A service user has raised concerns about the attitude of two members of ward night staff. She also stated that staff were smoking on the ward.

Staff have been sent a memo clarifying correct protocol for night time ward routine. The ward manager will check the consistency of staff practice in the coming weeks and months. He will also disseminate written guidance to all staff regarding roles, responsibilities and behaviour including: where to utilise breaks, smoking or vaping on the unit, ordering food onto the unit etc. Random evening checks will be carried out on the ward to gather evidence of any behaviour which falls below professional standards. The Trust’s Quality Improvement Partner will carry out some night shifts to provide support, advice and learning for staff.

  • Service user’s partner was unhappy with a consultant and stated that when they asked for help they were ignored. They were also unhappy that medication had been changed several times.

The service user was given a written apology from the Trust and the complaint was escalated to senior managers for further action.

  • Service user is unhappy with the clinical care she has received. She is also unhappy with the attitude of her consultant.

The service user was given a written apology from the Trust and the complaint was escalated to senior managers for further action.

  • Service user stated that a consultant made inappropriate comments.

The service user was given a written apology from the Trust and the complaint was escalated to senior managers for further action.

  • Service user was given the incorrect prescription during a visit to the walk in centre.

The staff member who issued the prescription has been reminded to ensure that her documentation reflects the consultation including when she has requested another practitioners opinion/prescription. They will also complete Information Governance training, Non Medical Prescribing training and will be monitored during supervision.

  • Patient’s mother raised concerns that her son received his birthday presents late.

An action plan is to be put in place to manage gifts which are received into the hospital to ensure that they are processed and received by service users in a timely manner. This will be shared with service users and their families.

  • An out of date contraceptive device was not identified during a service users appointment.

The team will develop an IUD Chart and display it in all clinical rooms.