Despite agreeing to a series of Ombudsman recommendations earlier this year, Hywel Dda University Health Board failed to provide Ms A (anonymised) with a response regarding her son’s eye treatment.

Ms A originally complained to the Health Board in June 2014 and made a further complaint in January 2016 due to the lack of update on the original investigation. The Ombudsman found that the delay in dealing with Ms A’s complaint was excessive and the lack of updates amounted to maladministration.

The Health Board specifically agreed with the Ombudsman to respond to the issue as a formal settlement but then failed to honour that agreement. It then gave Ms A a date by which it would respond to her and again didn’t meet that.

As a result, the Ombudsman has taken the exceptional step of issuing a special report[1] – the first one of this nature ever issued against a Health Board.

The major recommendation of this report is that Hywel Dda’s Chief Executive should personally respond to the Ombudsman having undertaken a review of the resources available to the complaints and concerns team and its capacity to deal with complaints received in a timely way.

Nick Bennett, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, said:

“I’m disappointed the Health Board did not fulfil its promise to give a full response to Ms A’s concerns over the treatment of her son within a reasonable timeframe.

“To not resolve this after nearly two years shows an appalling lack of respect towards Ms A and her son, and has added unnecessary stress to Ms A’s family.

“Since publishing this special report, the Health Board has responded to me and agreed to implement my recommendations. However, I still have serious concerns about the Health
Board’s management of its complaints handling function and its candour and governance, and will be monitoring it closely over the coming months.”