Clinical treatment in hospital
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Mrs Z’s father, who had several health conditions, including Parkinson’s, was admitted to hospital on 7 October 2021 with urine retention. He tested negative for COVID-19 on admission but a further test on 19 October was positive. His condition then deteriorated and he died on 22 October with COVID-19 being recorded as the cause of his death. Mrs Z later complained to the Health Board about his care and the lack of communication with the family during her father’s admission. She also questioned how, as a high risk patient being cared for on a separate ward, her father had contracted COVID-19. In its May 2021 response the Health Board provided a time line of the admission, pointing out that, as her father had been seen by district nurses before his admission, it was possible he had contracted COVID-19 in the community. On 22 June 2021 Mrs Z wrote again to the Health Board questioning that explanation, asking further questions raised from her examination of his medical records about how her father’s Parkinson’s was managed, why the family had not been promptly alerted to his deteriorating condition and offered an opportunity to visit him. She complained to the Ombudsman in October 2021 because she had not received a response to that letter.
The documents seen by the Ombudsman showed that little action had been taken to respond to the later concerns but there still appeared an opportunity for the Health Board to address matters. The Health Board agreed to the Ombudsman’s proposal to promptly consider the questions raised about the contraction of COVID-19; the management of the patient’s Parkinson’s and the communication with his family and, to provide a full and detailed response to Mrs Z within 2 months. It also agreed, in the light of the delays she had already experienced, to offer her an ex-gratia payment of £250 by way of an apology for that and for not keeping her updated appropriately.
The Ombudsman’s view was that the above action was reasonable to settle Mrs Z’s complaint.