Havering trust is eighth worst for complaints

Havering’s health trust is one of the top ten most complained about in the country, according to a report published this week.

The Health Service Ombudsman said it received 100 complaints in 2010/11 about Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust, which runs Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford, and King George Hospital, in Goodmayes.

The number of complaints is up from 93 the year before, and puts the trust - one of the busiest in the country - as eighth worst in England.

Of the 100, only five of the complaints were investigated and reported on by the ombudsman - but all were upheld.

The trust said it was taking the report “very seriously” and pledged to improve its efficiency in dealing with concerns.

Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, described the NHS complaints handling process as “patchy and slow’.

She warned that the “NHS is still not dealing adequately with the most straightforward matters”, and that too many minor disputes are escalated to her office before they are resolved.

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Her report, Listening and Learning: the Ombudsman’s review of complaint handling by the NHS in England 2010-11 features previously unpublished information about complaints that the NHS has failed to resolve locally.

She added: “I expect information about complaints to be high up on the agenda of trust boards in terms of consideration of how the organisation is doing.

“We are in trouble if patients and families are not being heard.”

A BHR Trust spokesman said: “As one of the busiest trusts in the country we would expect to get a number of complaints in direct proportion to the very high number of patients we treat.

“However, we do take this issue very seriously and have been working hard to try and reduce the number of complaints by dealing with any concerns as soon as they arise. This can stop a concern escalating into a complaint, and means that patients have a better experience while they are in our hospitals.

“We have also redesigned our complaints service to speed up responses.”

In 2010/11 the Ombudsman received more than 15,000 complaints but only 349 resulted in investigation.