Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust is committed to learning and improving when patients or their representatives tell us something has gone wrong.
To date in 2015/16, 266 complaints received have been resolved. Of these 152 (57%) were either fully or partially upheld and complainants have received due apologies and an explanation of what we will now do differently to prevent recurrence of their experience.
The top five themes for complaints received in 2015/16 are:
- Clinical judgement / Poor Treatment (26%)
- Appointments (21%)
- Staff attitude and communication (15%)
- Access and availability (14%)
- Medication specific issues (8%)
We were contacted by a patient who was unhappy about changes made to a service that is jointly run with a partner organisation.
The patient told us that a new clinic did not provide for patient confidentiality and was unsafe. In addition, they had been turned away despite it being a walk in clinic and the patient telling staff that they had symptoms. The patient asked that all of their records held by the service be deleted as the situation of the service meant they did not feel their confidentiality would be protected.
The patient was also unhappy with the new clinic location and the closure of clinics nearer to their home.
What we found
The investigation into the complaint confirmed that the service knew about the issues the patient had identified regarding confidentiality at the clinic reception. Due to a delay in the installation of automated triage machines, it was necessary for clinic staff to triage patients to make sure they were seen by the appropriate staff.
We identified that the patient had been advised that there were no further appointment slots on the morning they attended and that they were offered several alternative appointments at different times and locations.
The Information Governance Manger confirmed that it was not possible for the Trust to delete the records held by the service about the patient.
The investigation showed that changes to the service structure and locations were necessary to ensure the service was able to reach the largest number of potential patients as possible. Following an assessment of the needs in the city, a decision had been made to close and move some of the clinic sites. As part of this process a clinic was relocated to new facilities in the city centre.
Putting it right
We apologised to the patient for any discomfort felt by the triage process and assured them that the temporary process was both ethical and safe. The service has ensured that the automated triage machines have since been installed.
The patient was offered several appointments. They were also advised of alternative options for receiving treatment when all avenues available to the service were exhausted.
The patient was advised that the Trust could not delete any of their clinical records held by the service and was given assurances that the information was secure and that all staff are bound by confidentiality.
What did we learn?
This complaint highlighted the importance of effective communication with both existing and potential patients at all stages of service change.