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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Barrow families call for action over complaints knocked back by health watchdog

BEREAVED families in Barrow have called for action over hundreds of complaints knocked back by a national health watchdog.

It comes as figures from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) reveal it “fully investigated” less than three per cent of those received in 2012/13.

The PHSO, which holds the highest level of responsibility for complaints against NHS bodies, fully investigated less than 400 of 16,000 last year, The Telegraph reported on Monday (3).

The figures have sparked anger among families affected by historical failings at Furness General Hospital, many of whom appealed to the health watchdog for help.

Dalton dad, James Titcombe, turned to the ombudsman in 2009 following the death of his son, Joshua, nine days after his birth at FGH in November 2008.

In February 2010, following almost a year of consideration, the watchdog wrote to Mr Titcombe confirming its decision not to investigate. The PHSO said it was “pleased to see” serious action had already been taken to ensure lessons were learned from Joshua’s death.

Describing how he “begged” the ombudsman to reconsider, Mr Titcombe said: “I knew something was seriously wrong with the maternity unit where Joshua was failed and I wanted to ensure other lives were not put at risk. My pleas were repeatedly ignored.”

In 2013, the ombudsman finally agreed to look into Joshua’s case, and its findings stand in stark contrast with the original decision not to investigate.

A draft report, sent to Mr Titcombe in November, is due to reveal “maladministration” in the way the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust investigated the events surrounding his son’s death.

Mr Titcombe said: “The ombudsman failed my family and they have failed others. It is now time that the PHSO clearly acknowledged this failure in an open and transparent way.

“Furthermore, I do not accept that such failures were isolated to Joshua's case alone. I know of many other families who, like us, have suffered from serious failures in the NHS and have found it impossible to obtain a proper investigation into what happened. Joshua’s case clearly demonstrates that decisions have been made in the past that do not stand up to scrutiny.

“There is now an urgent need for all serious cases previously turned down for investigation by the ombudsman to be independently reviewed.”

Responding to The Telegraph’s report, the PHSO confirmed it changed its criteria for investigating complaints last year, based on feedback from those who appeals had been rejected.

It said it is now completing more investigations than ever before, with 1046 carried out between April and December 2013 compared to 249 in the same period the previous year.

Have your say

Ah well it's less than two weeks this time - Mr T saviour of the NHS single handedly. Once again being allowed to pour out his smug vomit. Oh what a joy, but no surprise there! You guys are just his puppets providing an open forum for a poisonous dangerous man. Well done NWEM!! You are just as sick as he is.

Posted by Again on 4 February 2014 at 17:51

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