• Phil Austen-Jones

How to deal with an awkward complaint - Don't answer it.

The NHS prides itself on its values of transparency, openness, honesty, accountability and lawfulness. Sadly, it appears the memo did not reach West Hampshire CCG.


More worryingly, it seems the memo did not spread very far at all.


As a brief recap, we had an NHS Continuing Healthcare review in November 2017 as a result of being lied to. The review was a disgrace so we submitted a formal complaint about it. Our complaint was upheld and a new review was set up. But West Hampshire CCG did not respond to all the issues raised. To this day, they still haven’t. A second review took place in January 2018. The reviewer felt my wife continued to be eligible but followed fake guidelines to force a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting to reassess eligibility. A senior manager backed up the decision. We challenged it, so they changed the outcome of the review. The handling of our subsequent formal complaint would probably have made Donald Trump proud.


In went the third formal complaint.


To ensure that our complaint would be appropriately investigated, we made it clear that our complaint was separate to the two previous complaints. Whilst the first two were focused on the two reviews, this complaint was regarding their complaint process. The full complaint letter (including citations from policies, regulations, etc) can be found on my website. Below is a summary of the key issues.


· Contrary to policy, no evidence of investigations.

· Contrary to law, did not discuss the complaints.

· Failed to answer key questions.

· Failing to respond appropriately to our question challenging the outcome of the January review (instead, they unlawfully changed the outcome).

· Contrary to law, pre-determined the outcome of our second complaint by making a clinical judgement on a complaint about due process.

· Biased investigation.

· Using fake rules again – ‘Can’t change the review paperwork’. They are either ignorant or complicit in the irony that they had already changed it.

· Conducting a Local Resolution Meeting (LRM) that was regarding remaining issues from our first complaint, to simply tell us the outcome of the second complaint (which had not even been investigated yet). They even tried to end the meeting before I reminded them that we needed to discuss the first complaint.

· We sent a letter to Heather Hauschild (Chief Officer) concerning the behaviour and bias at the LRM and the impact this would have on the complaint ‘investigation’. She sent it to the people who attended the meeting to respond. (Unsurprisingly, they just ignored it.)

· A Subject Access Request shows that no discussions were held with the January 2018 reviewer nor the senior manager involved in changing the outcome.

· Refusal to answer all the questions or any of the follow up questions.


Now, being the diligent, open, honest, transparent, accountable and lawful organisation that it is, West Hampshire CCG provided a detailed response.


“With regard to your complaint regarding the management of your complaint, West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group has undertaken a robust complaint process responding to your letters and facilitating a meeting with Mr and Mrs Austen Jones and Mr S Austen-Jones on 15 February 2018 to discuss both complaints as received on 10 and 12 December 2017 and 7 February 2018.”

(Ellen McNicholas, 22 May 2018)


No investigation whatsoever.


Despite the blatant and evidenced failings, their response was ‘go to the ombudsman’. Where on earth is the honesty?


We did go to the ombudsman. That is a long story but, needless to say, Rob Behrens should be totally embarrassed. And I will name and shame, as well as provide the evidence on the ineptitude of his organisation. And just wait for the story on the tampering of documents by West Hampshire CCG.


West Hampshire CCG have repeatedly claimed that they have done robust investigations. If that were the case, why are they still lying to me about it? They have admitted that there are no investigation records but, only last September, under pressure they said records are only guidance but have now included it in their policy. THIS IS A LIE. Investigation records were very much part of their policy at the time of my complaints.


“3.10.8 All statements, letters, phone calls and actions taken in an investigation must be documented and kept in the complaint file in chronological order.”

(WHCCG Policy for the Management of Complaints, Version 2.03, October 2016)




DIRECT MESSAGE TO MAGGIE MACISAAC (CEO of multiple CCGs in Hampshire)

Even now, West Hampshire CCG is lying to me to cover up their failings. How long will you let this carry on? How much more harm do my family and I have to suffer before you will do the right thing?


Why is it we are constantly told that we have to follow the process when West Hampshire CCG consistently abuses the process, resulting in prolonged agony for me and my family?


The NHS prides itself its values of transparency, openness, honesty, accountability and lawfulness. Sadly, it appears the memo did not reach West Hampshire CCG. Has it reached you, Maggie MacIsaac?


POST SCRIPT


To date, I have not received a response to this blog post from Maggie MacIsaac or anyone from West Hampshire CCG. It seems the memo did not reach them.

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