Upheld complaints

Upheld complaints - April 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 April 2019:


A service user was unhappy that his consultant did not facilitate his request for regular PRN medication.

Action taken: The service user will receive a copy of their clinical letter going forward, this will support them in reviewing the information discussed at their Out Patient Appointment and allow him to discuss any concerns or issues he may have.


Service user’s relative was unhappy with the attitude of a member of staff when she called to report damage to her bed. The member of staff also failed to order the part required to fix the bed.

Action taken: Staff have been reminded if the importance of good customer service and to escalate any difficult conversations to their line manager. The team are sourcing Customer Service Awareness Workshop with Learning and Development. Staff should also hand over any incomplete tasks to their line manager when going on annual leave.


A service user is unhappy with the care and treatment provided by the District Nurse Team.

Action taken: The team document out patient appointments within clinical notes to resolve missed communication. The team will also put in place a system to ensure staff take on responsibility for monitoring and returning phone calls received and ensure agency staff are informed to share relevant information given to them either from patients or families in the form of a communication handover template.


A service user reported that his TV was damaged.

Action taken: The TV appeared to have been damaged in transit, ex-gratia payment has been offered to the service user.


Service user stated that a member of staff was rude and unprofessional towards him.

Action taken: The Trust have apologised to the service user for any distress caused.


Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group raised concerns that a service user’s Continuing Health Care Assessment was not completed.

Action taken: It was recommended that staff should liaise with the family to ensure that they are aware of the progression of the assessment and any potential delays. They should also ensure that family members understand the assessment process and the role of the Community Matron and other professionals involved.


A relative has requested Continuing Health Care Assessment application paperwork however she has been told it has not been filed or kept.

Action taken: A written apology has been sent to the service user and staff have been reminded of the importance of correctly filing documentation.


Clinical notes were left at a service user’s house, despite her advising the district nurse team that she did not wish to know details about her prognosis.

Action taken: District nurse team are not to keep information regarding prognosis within paper notes.


Service user's parents stated that their daughter is receiving no support and is being passed between Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Mersey Care.

Action taken: Early Interventions Team staff should have a full understanding of how to make referrals to other services. Referrals should be made by email in a timely manner In complex cases a referral should be followed by a clinical conversation with an Early Interventions Clinician and the CAMHS Duty Clinician to ensure the referral has been received. Service users and their families should be given the direct telephone line for the Early Interventions Team so they are able to contact for any enquiries they may have.  Members of staff who report difficulties with their clinical duties due to work load pressures should be formally supported to manage this.


A service user’s has raised concerns that he is unable to reach his care team by telephone.

Action taken: New telephone and answer machine system has been introduced along with a new process for responding to calls.


Service user raised concerns about a missing item of property.

Action taken: An ex-gratia payment has ben offered to the service user with a written apology.