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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Trust which runs Barrow hospital criticised for complaints handling

A LACK of openness and honesty at the hospital trust that runs Furness General Hospital in Barrow caused unnecessary distress and further pain to a family who had “already suffered from the tragic and avoidable death of their baby”, according to the parliamentary and health service ombudsman.

They investigated five grievances about University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust which related to the way in which it handled the family’s complaints concerning the death of their baby. The cases they investigated and upheld focused on inappropriate email exchanges between staff at the hospital and the complainant, and the quality of the investigations the trust carried out into the death of the baby.

An allegation of collusion amongst midwives in preparation for an inquest was not upheld.

The ombudsman added that they also investigated and upheld a complaint from the baby’s father about the North West Strategic Health Authority’s investigation of events at the trust. They published this report in December 2013 along with the report “Midwifery supervision and regulation: recommendations for change”.

It has not been revealed which family the investigation relates to.

Julie Mellor, parliamentary and health service ombudsman, said: “We are publishing these reports as they highlight the need for more openness and transparency in the way hospitals and the wider health and social care system deal with complaints.

“Hospitals and other health care providers have a duty to patients and their families to investigate their concerns properly. In these cases the trust failed to be open and honest about what went wrong and this caused the complainant and his family further unnecessary distress at a very difficult time. When serious untoward incidents happen there needs to be an independent investigation which looks at the root cause of the complaint and the role of human factors such as people and the organisation’s culture.”

Nobody at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust was available for comment.

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