Hospitals receive 325 complaints

St Helens Hospital
St Helens Hospital
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Hospitals in St Helens have received more than 300 complaints last year – and almost three quarters of them were upheld.

St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust – which is responsible for both Whiston and St Helens hospitals – handled a total of 325 grievances in the financial year of 2013/14 - and as 73.5 per cent of those had been substantiated. It held the worst record out of 10 trusts in the Merseyside area.

But in terms of numbers of complaints, it was the third worst, behind Mersey Care NHS Trust, which had 371, and Southport and Ormskirk NHS which had 330.

It has also marked a fall in the number of negative comments from the previous period.

The criticisms can range from patient welfare, treatment, food and use of palliative end-of-life care.

A Trust spokesman said: “We work closely with patients, their families, and our staff to promptly resolve issues wherever possible and this has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of complaints received, which was already low compared to similar organisations.

“The decision about whether to ‘uphold’ a complaint or not, is taken by trusts themselves. At this Trust, rigorous judgement is made about this and if anything at all can be learned from a complaint then it is deemed ‘upheld’.

“This is part of a positive approach to complaints, where they are seen as valuable feedback, from which the Trust can learn and improve.

“All complaints are taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly with apologies given where appropriate.”

Meanwhile, St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had 18 complaints, placing it in the middle of the six CCG trusts and Knowsley CCG handled just seven, making it the best performing.

Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) - which held all this data - did not have records of how many of these were upheld.

The NHS complaints procedure is the statutorily based mechanism for dealing with complaints about care and treatment and all NHS organisations in England are required to operate the procedure.

HSCIC had collated a count of written complaints made by (or on behalf of) patients.