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Inspection report

Date of Inspection: 14 September 2010 and 11 July 2011
Date of Publication: 3 February 2011
Inspection Report published 3 February 2011 PDF

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People should have their complaints listened to and acted on properly (outcome 17)

Meeting this standard

We checked that people who use this service

  • Are sure that their comments and complaints are listened to and acted on effectively.
  • Know that they will not be discriminated against for making a complaint.

How this check was done

Our judgement

Overall, we found that the Churchill Hospital was meeting this essential standard.

User experience

The inpatient survey (2009) asked a number of questions around access to and use of the complaints processes at the trust. The trust as a whole scored similarly compared to other trusts. In relation to patient complaints, it scored:

• 3.6 out of 10 in relation to whether patients, during their stay in hospital ever saw any posters or leaflets explaining how to complain about the care you received.

• 9.1 out of 10 about whether patients wanted to complain about their stay in hospital (a higher score being more positive).

Other evidence

The trust has a complaints process in place and provides detailed reports to a range of committees, including the board. There is evidence that these reports are considered and discussed. A summary report to the care quality board, attended by executive level staff, showed that the trust monitors complaint types, numbers and trends. It also included a summary of outcomes.

The trust’s annual complaints report 2009/10 showed that 680 complaints were received by the trust in 2009-10, an increase of 36% on the previous year’s total of 499.

The trust analyses the themes from complaints. The five most prominent issues raised through complaints in 2009-10 were

• patient care/experience 47%

• delays/waiting times 41%

• staff behaviour 14%

• communication 10% and

• environment 3%.

The annual report also showed that 99% of complaints were acknowledged within the standard three days and 92% of complaints were investigated and answered within the targeted 25 days. Eight complaints were referred to the Ombudsman for preliminary assessment. Three of these were discontinued at this stage, three are still being investigated, one was referred back to the trust for local resolution and one proceeded to a formal investigation which has upheld.

The monitoring of serious or ‘red rated’ complaints is undertaken through the trust’s incidents, claims and complaints committee. A number of reports following a serious complaint have been received from the trust. These show that thorough and extensive investigations are conducted into serious complaints. These complaints have an action plan to record changes and improvements to trust practices following the completion of the investigation. The trust states that the directorates and divisions measure and monitor both the acknowledgement and response targets. Learning and action points are monitored at directorate level, though this is difficult to verify. There are a few patients and relatives of patients who have raised concerns about the response from the trust following a complaint. They have contacted the Care Quality Commission as they felt there views were not being considered and acted upon.

The trust provided evidence of actions taken is relation to a number of complaints where areas for learning were identified. Examples included: the correct use of the chaperone policy; improved telephone communication with patients/relatives as agreed with individuals; safeguarding of children when undergoing intimate examinations; increased awareness of monitoring of patients at night and improving communication to patients around waiting times in neurosciences and urology.