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Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership

  • Report no:
    201706689
  • Date:
    August 2019
  • Body:
    Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Sector:
    Health and Social Care

Summary

Ms C complained about the way that the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (the HSCP) handled her complaint.

Ms C made a complaint on 16 October 2017 expressing her dissatisfaction with the HSCP's response to her complaint at Stage 1. When she then did not receive a response to her complaint of 16 October 2017, she contacted my office. We queried with the HSCP whether Ms C's complaint of 16 October 2017 had been responded to which the HSCP were unable to tell us. We found that this was unreasonable because complaint responses should be appropriately tracked and recorded under the model Complaints Handling Procedure and the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Complaints Handling Procedure (NHSGGC CHP).

We asked the HSCP on four occasions to review Ms C's complaint of 16 October 2017 and provide her with a response to her complaint as we did not consider all the points raised by Ms C had been addressed by the HSCP. On each occasion we were given assurances that a further response would be sent to Ms C. The HSCP did not send a response to Ms C until more than a year after her complaint of 16 October 2017.

Following the HSCP's response to Ms C's complaint of 16 October 2017, she brought her complaint to this office.

We found that it was not made clear to Ms C why her complaint to Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board was being responded to by the HSCP. Ms C's complaint was also not acknowledged in writing within three working days.

We noted that there was a significant delay in Ms C receiving a complaint response even after we referred the matter back to the HSCP. Ms C was not kept updated with the reasons for the delay in issuing the complaint response and was not provided with a revised timescale.

We found that substantially different reasons were provided to Ms C and to this office about the delay, and there was a lack of openness and accountability as to why the significant delay occurred.

We also found that the tone and language used in the HSCP's complaint responses was, at times, inappropriate.

The public are entitled to expect openness and accountability in the way in which their complaint is handled by a public body. These principles were established a number of years ago by the Committee on Standards in Public Life and enshrined in the “Nolan Principles” designed to improve standards of behaviour in public organisations. In this case, we found that the HSCP failed to live up to these principles in the handling of Ms C's complaint and the way in which they have responded to us.

In view of these failings, we upheld Ms C's complaint that the HSCP did not handle her complaint reasonably.

 

Redress and Recommendations

The Ombudsman's recommendations are set out below:

What we are asking the HSCP to do for Ms C:

What we found

What the organisation should do

What we need to see

It was not made clear to Ms C why her complaint to Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board was being responded to by the Glasgow City HSCP.

Ms C's complaint of 16 October 2017 was not acknowledged in writing within three working days.

There was a significant delay in Ms C receiving a complaint response after my office referred the matter back to the HSCP.

Ms C was not kept updated with the reasons for the delay in issuing the complaint response and was not provided with a revised timescale.

Substantially different reasons were provided to Ms C and to this office about the delay and there was a lack of openness and accountability as to why the significant delay occurred.

The tone and language used in the HSCP's complaint responses was, at times, inappropriate

Apologise to Ms C for not making it clear to her at the earliest opportunity why her complaint to Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board was being responded to by the Glasgow City HSCP; for not acknowledging her complaint of 16 October 2017; for the significant delay in sending her a final complaint response; for not keeping her updated about the reasons for the delay or providing a revised timescale; for the lack of openness and accountability as to why the significant delay occurred and for the tone and language used in the complaint responses.

The apology should meet the standards set out in the SPSO guidelines on apology available at www.spso.org.uk/leaflets-and-guidance.

A copy or record of the apology

By: 18 September 2019

We are asking the HSCP to improve their complaints handling:

What we found Outcome needed What we need to see

It was not made clear to Ms C why her complaint to the Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board was being responded to by the Glasgow City HSCP.

Ms C's complaint of 16 October 2017 was not acknowledged in writing within three working days.

In January 2018, the HSCP were not able to tell my office whether Ms C's complaint of 16 October 2017 had been responded to.

There was a significant delay in Ms C receiving a complaint response after my office referred the matter back to the HSCP.

Ms C was not kept updated with the reasons for the delay in issuing the complaint response and was not provided with a revised timescale.

Substantially different reasons were provided to Ms C and to this office about the delay and there was a lack of openness and accountability as to why the significant delay occurred.

The tone and language used in the HSCP's complaint responses was, at times, inappropriate

The necessary systems should be in place to ensure that complaints are handled in line with the Glasgow City HSCP's complaint handling procedure and the model complaints handling procedure and that all staff responsible for dealing with complaints should be aware of their responsibilities in this respect.

The tone and language used in complaint responses should be professional and empathetic

 

 

Evidence that training has been carried out with relevant staff involved in this complaint to remind them, in a supportive way, of the principles underpinning the Glasgow City HSCP's complaint handling procedure and the model complaints handling procedure.

Evidence that the HSCP's systems demonstrate senior level/governance responsibility for complaint handling.

Evidence of an audit of a sample of complaint responses since September 2017 to ensure that complaints are being handled in accordance with the Glasgow City HSCP's complaint handling procedure and the model complaints handling procedure and that the tone and language used is professional and empathetic

By: 21 November 2019

 

Updated: August 21, 2019