We know that many members of the public are concerned about how they, or their loved ones, acquired COVID-19 while receiving care in NHS settings such as hospitals. A COVID-19 infection acquired in an NHS setting is called ‘nosocomial’ COVID-19.
Below we explain briefly how we consider complaints about hospital-acquired COVID-19.
However, this factsheet answers some frequently asked questions about how the NHS and our office look at complaints about nosocomial COVID-19.
This note is relevant to you if:
You can complain to us if you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint or the review under the National Framework. This note explains our approach when we consider such concerns.
Before we can look into your complaint, we need to be sure that:
If we can look into your complaint, we may recommend that the Health Board or Trust looks at your case under the National Framework so that it is considered fairly under the NHS process. You can still complain to us later if you are unhappy when that review has been done.
Before we can look into your complaint, we need to be sure about two things:
To use our resources wisely and deliver a fair service to everyone who comes to us, sometimes we may decide not to investigate your complaint for other reasons (for example, because the Health Board or Trust has completed a full and fair review of your case). We will always explain to you our reasons.
If we can look into your complaint, we are only likely to investigate if we consider that it is more likely than not that the patient caught COVID-19 in hospital (we may never be able to say that for certain).
When we look into your complaint, we will consider if:
When coming to our decision, we will look at your evidence and the evidence from the Health Board or Trust; the guidance and circumstances in place at the time; and information from our clinical advisors if we need that.
You can make a complaint to a Care Home that you, or someone else, caught COVID-19 there. The Care Home will investigate your complaint. If you are unhappy with what the Care Home tells you, then you can complain to us.
We will consider your evidence, the evidence from the Care Home and the guidance and circumstances in place at the time; and information from our social care or clinical advisors if we need that.
There is currently no system such as the NHS National Framework to investigate cases of COVID-19 infections in Care Homes in most circumstances.
However, the National Framework applies if a patient who was in hospital caught COVID-19 and was then discharged to a care home.