Prof Sir Bruce Keogh has criticised the trust that runs King’s Mill Hospital for having a ‘significant’ backlog of complaints - some dating back to 2010.
This issue was identified in the report written by Sir Bruce which was released last week.
It was immediately escalated to bosses at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, requiring them to do work to deal with the backlog straight away.
A ‘significant’ backlog in sending out clinic follow up letters and backlogs in reading scans and x-rays were also identified and required immediate action. Sir Bruce said that his team found different approaches by trusts in dealing with complaints.
“There was a tendency in some of the hospitals to view complaints as something to be managed, focusing on the production of a carefully-worded letter responding to the patient’s concerns as the main output,” he said.
“The length of time to respond adequately to complaints was also too long in a number of trusts.
“The simple acknowledgement or apology where care was not privded to the appropriate standard.”
Paul O’Connor, the new chief executive at the trust, said this complaints backlog is being dealt with.
“We have put in place additional resources to enable us to clear the backlog of complaints, clinic letters and radiology reporting, and we are redesigning processes where necessary to ensure backlogs do not build up in the future.
“This will include clear and explicit standards against which performance will be measured.”
Significant concerns around staffing levels at both King’s Mill and Newark hospitals were also raised - concerning out of hours staffing and the trained to non-trained ratio. Mr O’Connor said: “We have already carried out a full review of nurse staffing levels on our inpatient wards and reported to our Trust Board.
“A concern of the review team was in relation to the skill mix of registered nurses to untrained nurses on our inpatient wards. Since the review we have improved out of hours support and nurse staffing proposal will be presented to our Trust Board meeting in the autumn.”
“Where concerns were raised in regard to medical staffing a number of measures have been introduced.”
The Trust’s progress will be closely monitored and follow up inspections carried out.
For more on the problems identified at Sherwood Forest Hospitals see this week’s Mansfield and Ashfield Chads.