Complaint investigation discontinued (without settlement)
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Mrs A complained on behalf of her late husband, Mr B, about the treatment and care provided by the Health Board on his admission to hospital in September 2020. Mrs A said that the Health Board failed to protect Mr B from contracting COVID-19 while in hospital and to undertake a timely infection prevention investigation in response to her complaint.
The Ombudsman’s investigation found that Mr B’s COVID-19 infection fell into the indeterminate classification in accordance with the Welsh Government’s National Framework for investigating possible cases of hospital acquired COVID-19. This meant that no-one could say if Mr B was already incubating COVID-19 on admission or if he had acquired it in the hospital. Although Mrs A said that the Health Board had not acted appropriately to minimise the risk of infection by testing patients for COVID-19 on admission to hospital, this was not recommended practice until January 2021. Taking into account the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on the Health Board’s resources and the requirement to implement the National Framework, the time taken by the Health Board to respond to Mrs A’s concerns was not thought to be unreasonable.
The investigation of Mrs A’s complaint was discontinued as there was little further of value that could be achieved through an ongoing enquiry into these matters