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Mr D complained to the Ombudsman about the manner in which the Health Board dealt with his complaint under NHS complaints procedure about the care his late mother (“Mrs D”) received. Mr D was particularly concerned about the length of time it took for the Health Board to respond to him after it had identified that it had breached its duty of care towards his mother and with the response he ultimately received from the Health Board.

The Ombudsman found that the Health Board had taken too long to investigate the matter under the relevant redress arrangements, had misplaced Mrs D, records and failed to inform Mr D when offering him a full and final settlement, that the clinician whose advice they had relied upon in its response letter to Mr D did not have access to Mrs D’s records. The Ombudsman found that the delay in dealing with the redress issue coupled with the lack of transparency in the Health Board’s redress response to Mr D amounted to clear maladministration leading to injustice to Mr D.

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint.

He recommended the Health Board:

a) apologise to Mr D,

b) provide him with redress of £2000 for the distress he and Mrs D would have experienced as a result of the shortcomings identified

c) provide Mr D with redress of £500 for his time and trouble in pursuing the complaint over a prolonged period of time.

d) that the Health Board provide Mr D with free legal advice and arrange for joint instruction of an independent clinical adviser to consider whether Mrs D had suffered harm as a result of the shortcoming the Health Board identified.

e) if it was not possible to arrange such an instruction in a timely manner, that Mr D be paid a further £1500 in redress to reflect the lost opportunity to have his mother’s care considered appropriately.

f) ensures that all relevant staff are formally reminded of their duty to be open and transparent at all times with patients and their relatives.

A full copy of the report is available below