Clinical treatment in hospital
Upheld in whole or in part
Non-public interest report issued: complaint upheld
Swansea Bay University Health Board
Mrs J complained about how Swansea Bay University Health Board (“the Health Board”) dealt with her requests to raise a complaint on behalf of the late Mr Q concerning the treatment he received. Mrs J also complained about how Swansea Council (“the Council”) dealt with her requests to raise a complaint about the treatment Mr Q received from the Council’s Social Services department.
The Ombudsman’s investigation found that whilst the Health Board provided an initial response to Mrs J’s concerns – it indicated that Mr Q had asked, while he was alive, that some information was not shared with Mrs J – the Council did not formally respond, despite months of correspondence with Mrs J, as it did not think she was a “suitable person” to raise issues on behalf of Mr Q. When Mrs J followed up the Health Board’s response with further questions, it took a long time to respond and when it did it also concluded that Mrs J was not a suitable person to raise further issues on behalf of Mr Q. The Ombudsman concluded that whilst it was appropriate for both bodies to seek agreement from Mr Q’s next of kin to respond to Mrs J, when this could not be obtained and it was clear that Mrs J was the only individual who was prepared to raise concerns on behalf of the late Mr Q, a response should have been prepared (including a second by the Health Board) taking into account Mr Q’s views about what he did not want shared with Mrs J. The Ombudsman said that this might have resolved Mrs J’s concerns and might have resulted in her not needing to approach the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman upheld Mrs J complaint. He recommended that the Health Board and the Council apologise to Mrs J and co-ordinate a joint response that addresses Mrs J’s outstanding concerns. He also recommended that each body make a redress payment to Mrs J of £250 to reflect the delays and time and trouble in bringing her complaints. Both the Health Board and the Council agreed to the Ombudsman’s recommendations.