Mrs A had complained to Powys Teaching Health Board (“the Health Board”) and a second local health board in July 2019 concerning the care and treatment that had been provided to her mother. The Health Board was the lead relevant body for the purposes of the investigation in accordance with the statutory regime for dealing with healthcare related complaints (commonly known as Putting Things Right – “PTR”). Mrs A complained to the Ombudsman in January 2020. She outlined why she was dissatisfied with the care and treatment provided to her mother and she asked the Ombudsman to investigate the Health Board’s handling of her complaint as it had not provided her with a complaint response, despite her chasing up the lack of response. In accordance with his powers, the Ombudsman resolved the complaint (as an alternative to investigation) on the basis of the Health Board’s agreement to the following 2 actions; it would provide Mrs A with a written apology and a complaint response by 14 February 2020.

Being dissatisfied that the Health Board had not complied with either of the 2 recommendations within the timescales agreed, the Ombudsman invoked his powers under section 28 of the Act to issue a Special Report. This was critical of the Health Board’s handling of Mrs A’s complaint and its failure to implement the recommendations that it had expressly agreed to.

The Ombudsman made 2 further recommendations to the Health Board:

(a) To issue a written apology to Mrs A’s for the way in which it has handled her complaint.

(b) Within 2 months of the final report, that the Health Board’s CEO personally responds to the Ombudsman, having undertaken a review of its complaints handling team and its ability and capacity to deal with complaints under the PTR regime in an effective and timely way. This review should consider not only capacity but whether additional training on the PTR requirements should be undertaken.