What people say about PHSO

Want to leave a comment about your experience of PHSO – then contact

phso-thefacts@outlook.com.

Ruth Tomas

Did you receive my email about the PHSO survey and the asking of closed questions carefully selected to not allow respondents (us lot) to reveal the true nature of the PHSO service?! ie questions centre on peripheral subject matter  such as ‘did you receive your telephone call from your caseworker and was it timely’ and not ‘ how did you feel about the PHSO response to your complaint?’ The whole telephone survey is geared to receive positive replies to add to their highly superficial statistics ie asking questions about something they might have improved upon instead of something that they are appalling at! DJM also kept repeating ’rounded’ assessment I would like to ask why aren’t her survey questions ’rounded’?

Barbara Smith

PHSO A sham of a service not fit for purpose. Paul Dowd PHSO investigator just another puppet in this service, another overpaid puppet. I suspect that I could have had received more justice in North Korea than from the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The French would have had another revolution had their people been served with such a sham of an organisation.People need to know who really pulls these strings in this shameful unfit for purpose organisation.

Naive Complainant

My complaint was about the treatment my mother received at the Royal Surrey County Hospital where she passed away in November 2013. After 2 years of back and forth correspondence with the Trust, seeking answers, I eventually arrived at the PHSO. I suspect that everyone who arrives is relieved to at last get some impartial professionals involved, people who will be able to take the hospital to task for their errors and obfuscations. Ha! How naive I was!! After sorting out the scope of the investigation, which strangely seemed like an exercise in whittling down the size of the complaint and discarding as much as possible(!), I was then told we would move onto the investigation and discovery stage. Investigation and discovery!! Now we were getting somewhere. Now the Trust would have to give some proper answers. And then the draft report arrived after just 3 weeks, without any discussion of the complaint whatsoever. The Trust, it seemed, had done nothing wrong and the complaint was not upheld! But why did the report repeat the hospital’s explanations verbatim? Why didn’t they produce any evidence? Why did they ignore my evidence? Why didn’t they believe anything I had told them? They must have made a mistake. A phone call to the Investigator would put everything right. After 45 minutes on the line I was close to desperation. She wouldn’t engage in a discussion of the issues, stonewalled every attempt to open up the discussion, constantly interrupted me. Eventually she agreed not to interrupt and the phone went completely quite. After talking into a void for a few minutes, a loud burst of male laughter, abruptly stifled, from the other end of phone line. Surely this wasn’t happening. Surely the Health Service Ombudsman is a fine upstanding organisation of professionals eager to help people who are victims of mistreatment by the health service. During another phone conversation the Investigator said “I know what you are trying to get me to say and I’m not going to say it!” What on earth did she mean? What kind of an Ombudsman would say a thing like that? But there was still a last hope. I could provide comments to the draft report. I wrote a 14 page document detailing all the errors in the draft report, complete with all the evidence. They would have to engage and respond to that. 3 days later the final report arrived. “As you have not provided any new information and the majority of your comments are reiterating your original complaint, our decision has not changed”.
Well, you can imagine how I felt after that charade, as you have been through something similar yourself. That is why I was so glad to discover your website and that I was not the only person to be treated with such contemptuous disdain by a completely unaccountable government institution. I can’t decide whether it is a Kafkaesque nightmare or just a facsimile of a 20th century Eastern European communist state institution. Either way there is no place in a 21st century liberal democracy for an organisation such as this one. For an Ombudsman to victimise people who have already been victimised once and are coming to them for help is absolutely unconscionable.

John Newman

My contact is supercilious, condescending and patronising all at once and whilst “valuing my feedback” does sod all with it.  The new service charter still puts process ahead of “customer” and I suspect they actually regard the NHS as their customer rather than you and me.  My response to their draft report was almost the same length as I doubt their ability to really understand “issues” which I felt could only be countered by including very specific details and examples.  Despite their commitment to rigour, they are still using vague words like “generally”, “infrequently” etc. and are unable to define what they mean.

Alex Pinch

Well, just over 12 months ago I wrote on this site, informing that the phso had decided to have another look at my case. Great I thought.
As I hadn’t heard from them by October I wrote a letter to them requesting an update – just the normal reply that they had received my letter. Several email and letters later I called the phso only to be told that their computer was down, could I call them later. Instead I sent an email – once again the standard reply. By April it was time to ring, perhaps this time I would be given update as to the state of my appeal. After 10 mins they finally put me through to a lady who informed me that they had investigated my complaint and had informed me by letter (seemingly to the wrong address) They consider my case is closed!
After 10 mins or so and getting nowhere I asked her to resend the letter they had stated the had sent, together with the reasons why they hadnt answered any of my letters/ emails. She agreed , well still waiting …. Anyone else had the same ?

Jean Byrne

The phso is without a doubt the most corrupt organisation I have had the misfortune of dealing with, apart from the nhs.

Colin Rock

Disgraceful service – but they just don’t get why people make complaints. Victims are tired of the lying, cheating and negligence they’ve experienced, and want to make the service better for everyone following in their unfortunate steps. The response is to tell them what they saw never happened; they didnt see any negligence at all; doctors have absolute immunity whatever the outcome, and their kids would probably have died anyway even if correct procedures had been followed. This is the PHSO today.

Teresa Steele

I’m telling you! this organisation is unbelievably bad, and those being investigated are not fearful of the word ‘ombudsman’, and I know first hand the reasons why.

Maddy Steele

There is more chance of being struck by lightening while simultaneously having your numbers come up on the 60m rollover, and then being struck by lightening again than there is of winning a case, even with clearly presented FACTS. Roadblocks are thrown up at every single turn, they will do everything in their power to ensure that we are left feeling helpless and stupid in the hopes that we’ll just give up.

Vic Ware OBE

This [MP Briefing Meeting] is most welcome and long overdue In my family’s case it has taken 3 years and over 4500 pages of reports with evidence and In am still waiting for a final decision.
Navigating their maze of processes has been a nightmare and a traumatic experience
which has added greatly to the damage done by a private healthcare company and the Leeds NHS. both of whom engaged in lying and deceitful practices. The PHSO is doing its own reform programme but the Management and many of the staff are just not up to the job.Julie Mellor must go and without compensation or further honour.

James T quote

Jonathan Richie

The PHSO exists to neutralize complaints not to resolve them. We are supposed to learn that it is almost useless to complain and we need to shut up and learn our place.

Dave Hulatt

This organisation are a complete disgrace and dangerous by their incompetence and damaging self serving methods. 3 years wasted with them.

John Dooley

Questions I put to the PHSO on the draft report’s glaring inaccuracies and inconsistencies were not answered and they finalised what is a complete piece of fakery…they are incompetent and have the investigative instincts of a garden gnome

Colin 

Having just received my draft report report back with a negative and that
in spite of outright solid evidence to uphold the complaint it made me feel good to come across your site…good to know one is not alone….and of course you’re completely right..I just can’t understand how this situation is allowed to continue…….rotten to the core, that’s what comes to mind…Thanks and keep up the good work

John Rudkin

In brief: in my experience the PHSO is not impartial,not diligent, and not truthful …..and apparently unaccountable…….

Mary Rains  October 2015 FOI on withholding evidence

withholding evidence

Geoffrey Mclaughlin 

The PHSO is little more than a Government protection agency which long gave up protecting the public.

Tony Philpin 

PHSO comment

Tony Philpin 2

 

Colin James

PHSO comment Colin James

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jan

 

                                                                        Jan

Sila Tarina
Nila comment

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89 thoughts on “What people say about PHSO

  1. Any Parliamentary Ombudsman with intelligence, moral backbone, integrity and honour would never subject complainants to the dreadful experience and run-around I have endured. It would be incorrect to speak of ‘incompetence’ for that implies lack of ability or power to act with legal effectiveness. No. It is about deliberate failures to act impartially and fairly with the overriding objective of covering up wrongdoing. They do not play by their own rules. They have been fundamentally dishonest. Incapable of holding up their hands and admitting it. Instead act with impunity because they are unaccountable and how well they know it. It suits Government and Parliament that it should remain so. Better it didn’t exist than to allow genuine complainants to place detrimental reliance on the functional sham that is the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
    In recent days the Supreme Court gave judgment in Mandalia v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] UKSC 59. Lord Wilson endorsed the following passage from Laws LJ’s judgment in R (Nadarajah) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2005] EWCA Civ 1363:

    “Where a public authority has issued a promise or adopted a practice which represents how it proposes to act in a given area, the law will require the promise or practice to be honoured unless there is good reason not to do so. What is the principle behind this proposition? It is not far to seek. It is said to be grounded in fairness, and no doubt in general terms that is so. I would prefer to express it rather more broadly as a requirement of good administration, by which public bodies ought to deal straightforwardly and consistently with the public.”

    The question for the Ombudsman is: what part of this reinforced case law does she and her team not understand?

    One final question: What sort of Ombudsman would actively seek to recruit associate caseworkers to work from home with the inducement of earning a salary of ” £700 on successful completion of a case”? http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/work-for-us/latest-jobs/associate-caseworkers

    Simply appalling.

    • ….how can a caseworker do a real investigation in between changing the nappies and doing the washing-up………….this is an outright scandal and not only that but a scandal to let it continue by not doing anything about it……..no wonder we’re all getting flobbed off……..people are making money out of it……..

      • Not to mention how much confidential data could be at risk by letting caseworkers do it at home. If the dog doesn’t chew it, the toddler sick up on it, or the family and friends popping round have a nosey through it, they might decide to put stuff on their tablet/smartphone/data stick and lose it whilst popping off the the supermarket, on the train (many of those fiascos already) or leave it on the park bench.

    • (1) “Any Parliamentary Ombudsman with intelligence, moral backbone, integrity and honour would never subject complainants to the dreadful experience and run-around I have endured” – E Colville’s words sum up the experience for many -it appears- and certainly for me.

      After continuous petitioning, I’m currently in the process of getting a second look at my case, and the response is imminent. That’s almost 6½ years after my original complaint to the PHSO: that being rejected on grounds that showed that the NHS complaints procedure wasn’t understood by themselves. What hope for lay caseworkers to grasp the medical and legal complications of failures?

      I’ve not really rested from this since my son’s death. I’m now 68, and the PHSO responses I’ve seen and recorded over the 6 years have been unbelievable bordering on discriminatory with regard to my own mental state following that trauma.

      There has to be further outcome and I would not be surprised if the PHSO started to see claims for mental harm caused by their own people and processes.

      (2) I’m not particularly impressed that caseworkers might be permitted to make-do in their own domestic environment, whilst complainants/victims are agonising over responses; maybe with their life on hold.

      (3) I would have thought the prime function of the PHSO and an investigation would be to expose any failures directly involved in the event AND any related issues likely to have affected the eventual outcome. Any new Complaints initiative needs to embrace learning for process improvement, from whatever source, and the current set-up and culture within the PHSO evidently does not.

  2. I too am a PHSO victim. My MP submitted a complaint form on my behalf in August 2014. The PHSO lost it (“presumed destroyed”). A letter which I did not receive (copy obtained only after I made a Subject Access Request) stated that I should contact an MP next time, and that I had not completed the proper complaints procedure (I was in fact directed to the PHSO after having completed the correct complaints procedure). I had to start all over again.

    More recently I sent a letter dated 26 August 2015 complaining about the PHSO’s final decision (my complaint form included details of four separate complaints, but the caseworker failed to refer to three of them and did an obviously botched job on the one that caught her eye). I have heard nothing from Customer Care and information released to me by the FOI Teams reveals nothing to indicate that my letter of complaint is being dealt with. It seems to have joined a lot of others in some great big black hole. Full details of my PHSO experience can be viewed here:

    https://phsocomplaint.wordpress.com/about/

  3. PHSO colludes with the body complained about, when shown cast iron proof they just ignore it and say it does not change their decision. In what world is this called an “investigation”! When you involve senior management (on the off-chance that you have been lumbered with a senseless caseworker who doesn’t know how to do their job) it makes not a jot of difference. What PHSO does is very deliberate. If you look at their legal duties/remit, it is worded that they have to “consider” your complaint. Well I could look at your paperwork, and then bin it. I can then hand on heart say I have considered it. So the legal wording is very crafty, “considering” on it’s own is not enough. The *way* it is considered needs to be specified, until then they will continue to abuse their position and waste vast amounts of public funds whilst they do so. It should specify that they have to understand and logically and accurately consider your evidence and act upon it by investigating in a rigorous and entirely unbiased manner in coming to the just conclusion. At the moment, that does not happen. When you officially complain about their handling of your original complaint, either they totally ignore it or take many months to reply, ignoring many of your pertinent points and giving ludicrous responses to the others. They are expert at deliberately misunderstanding what is before them, at responding in a convoluted fashion designed to confuse you and being extremely tardy in the hope that you will give up or forget the finer details of your complaint, so you will be easily brushed off by their fantastical responses. PHSO will misrepresent or stage manage the basis of your complaint where possible, so that they can include it in their statistics as an investigation they undertook (well done them eh) but it will be distorted to something that they can easily not uphold – usually only something about the administrative actions of the body complained about. Even if you do then find something wrong in said administrative actions, they will ignore it no matter how many times you point it out and conveniently not identify it themselves during their sham investigation. And they are sham investigations for the most part (they have to scapegoat the odd body to make it look good of course). PHSO investigations are a paper exercise, your complaint is simply to keep PHSO staff in a job. They do tend to take a lot of annual leave whilst they are at it. Let’s face it, can’t be easy deceiving people so much, even for the most hardened PHSO staff. Well, they do have a high staff turnaround so there can’t be many of those on the ground. If they use external expert advisers, don’t be surprised if the adviser is not qualified or experienced in the relevant field. Also don’t be surprised if PHSO misinforms them in the information provided. PHSO will automatically believe the plethora of lies told by the complained about body, utter bias honed to perfection. If you prove with written evidence that the body lied to PHSO, PHSO staff will just repeat again their mantra “it does not change our decision”. You sit there in disbelief at what you are reading in black and white, wondering how anyone, by any standards can react that way. But no matter how many times you explain to the caseworker that they are ignoring vital evidence they will not budge. One of their sayings is “please let me know how you think this changes our decision” so they put the onus on the complainant to explain their grossly misjudged decisions. (That will be checking whether you are aware of the legal ramifications and how much they can get away with.) But then that would be because the decision was deliberate wouldn’t it. They are also good at telling you they will investigate your complaint and then changing their mind, and when you protest they just say sorry about that, as if the months of stress they put you through was inconsequential, not to mention the very long period of time in fighting the system to get that far in the first place through the complaints system of complained about body. Reviews are always a rubber stamping of their original decision. Yet more wasting of public money. Speaking of which, they are also great at telling you that you are the one wasting public money. In writing. Oh yes, another thing they are really good at, is using personal opinion (theirs of course) to tell you what your intentions were, what or when your understanding was (even in the face of written proof) and if you do ever get copies of your files under FOI, they will withhold anything incriminating by citing a DPA exemption and you might well discover prejudicial and derogatory things they have said about you or entered on the case notes. One that springs to mind is about having conversations with the body complained about (on first name terms over email, mind) and agreeing together it would be best for all concerned to close your case down asap. Best for whom? Oh and if the body complained about calls them concerned that you have a new basis of complaint due to new evidence, never fear, PHSO will inform them (and be good enough to record on the file notes that they have done so, most kind) that never fear, they are prepared to stop you in your tracks as soon as you approach them, they have their excuse ready. Oh and they will merrily claim to have already considered evidence which they admitted in writing to have been simply filing as irrelevant. They are also great at losing your case, admitting they lost it and then denying they did so. Even when you have received their auto email reply confirming receipt. They are also fabulous at breaking their own deadlines (which are already tardy). It’s really common for them to send you encrypted files you have requested, along with passwords that won’t open them. So all-in-all a surreal, stress-provoking (understatement of the year), banging-your-head-against-a-brick-wall experience. Way to go, Dame Julie.

      • And why ever not eh, PHSO excels at it – why would they change it when they have got it down to a ‘t’ eh! I mean it’s not as if anyone is holding them to account over it. Thousands of people have been beaten down by this same format.

        I look forward to seeing your antithesis to the toothy PHSO PR monster, might I suggest something like this: http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/ac1394dbdcca6a36cbf486633b129cd813095ac3/r=x404&c=534×401/local/-/media/USATODAY/USATODAY/2013/01/04/domo-superman-pop-glam-4_3.jpg

      • I am at my second draft report stage, two PHSO investigations in three years, one partly upheld. Everything you have written ‘EducatedJustice’, is exactly what I have experienced and still am experiencing. I too have sent evidence that cannot be denied, but I now fully understand that the PHSO are just there to protect the establishments we may have cause to complain about. Not only did I look at the both local reports in disbelief, I also looked at the two PHSO draft reports and the one final report in disbelief. They are liars, and I don’t hold out any hope at all of my very valid complaints ever being given the resolution they deserve. My husband has been left brain damaged, which the PHSO omitted to put in their final report!!! they just said he had suffered ‘physical damage’. I then had to wait until I acquired power of attorney and then, through further investigation, show that my husband had significant brain damage. Two years before he received occupational therapy!! We have to grow in numbers, we have to reach out and find the many others out there who have been let down so badly by this sick system. How do they sleep at nights? Thank the stars above that I found others in this situation, at least I now know I am not going mad.

          • PHSO are above the law and they know it They can not be brought to justice We the public are blocked at every way we turn .I have no confidence in Bernard Jenkin at PASC he has let us all down badly he should speak out or get out I am still waiting for guidance from the MET So watch this space.

          • It is certainly true that the words don’t match the actions. But things are changing … slowly, slowly.

    • In reply to EductateJustice.

      Your points on “consideration” versus “investigation” are well made. Let’s face it. The very act of opening a letter from an MP or any other person enclosing a complaint and reading it is sufficient for the Ombudsman to state the complaint has been “considered”.

      Perhaps the wrongful conflation of the two words is part of the meaningless “modernisation” to which the Ombudsman has been harping on about for some time.

      The fact is the original Ombudsman legislation, i.e. the Parliamentary Commissioner Act (1967) which is still in force, speaks in plain English to “investigations” by the Parliamentary Commissioner, or as she’s now more commonly known, the Ombudsman.

      The aberration is deliberate. It becomes clear on reading for example David W. Williams who in 1977 authored the leading work “Maladministration: Remedies for Injustice”. His analysis contains the following excerpts of relevance:

      “Procedure on investigation: On receiving a complaint from an MP the first action taken by the Commissioner’s Office is to screen it for jurisdiction. The complaint will be subject to ten tests…. These ten tests are set out in Appendix II, Ist Report 1967-68 [to Parliament] and may be summarised as follows:
      A. Statutory Reference
      1. Request by MP for investigation
      2. Assent by complainant to investigation
      B. Mandatory requirements
      3. Administrative action by or on behalf of a listed department or authority
      4. Action not excluded by Schedule 3;
      5. Complainant not excluded by s6 (1)
      6. Aggrieved person resident or present in the UK or complaint relates to rights or obligations accruing or arising here.
      C. Discretionary provisions
      7. Complaint is by aggrieved person;
      8. Time limit;
      9. No appeal reference or review to a tribunal
      10. No remedy by way of proceedings in a court”

      “If after screening, the complaint is accepted for investigation, this is reported to the referring MP, and the complaint enters the first stage of the investigatory process. This stage is commenced by the Commissioner referring the allegations to the principal officer of any department involved for his comments. This officer will be asked to request any other officer named in the complaint to contact the Commissioner if the Commissioner wishes, to set out his own comments. The Commissioner usually asks for a reply to be made within a fortnight, but in practice this may take longer. On receiving the reply, the Commissioner’s staff will re-assess the complaint to see whether it is one they can pursue, or whether for jurisdictional or other reasons the investigation should be discontinued. If the investigation is continued, the second stage of the investigation procedure is started. The precise procedure for an investigation is for the Commissioner to determine though it must be held in private (s7(21)). Normally, the Commissioner’s staff will examine the department’s papers and interview departmental officers involved in the case. Occasionally, the Commissioner will also seek interviews with relevant ministers.”

      “Commissioner’s discretion to investigate: This discretion, given by s 51(1) of the Act, is strengthened by the terms of s 5(5) which makes it clear that any question whether a complaint is duly made under this Act is to be determined by the Commissioner. The courts have made it clear that they will not interfere in this discretion. This is not to say, of course, that the Commissioner is not subject to review by the courts on questions of the extent of his jurisdiction, where, for instance, a Minister disagrees with the Commissioner on whether the latter can review a certain action. But it does mean that a decision not to investigate cannot in effect be challenged, at least not unless the Commissioner is acting wholly outside the scope of his office. The Commissioner is required, in any case where he does not conduct a full investigation, to send a statement of his reason to the MP referring the case……..”

      “The Parliamentary Commissioner has accepted the guidance of the Select Committee that “ if he finds a decision which, judged by its effect on the aggrieved person, appears to be thoroughly bad in quality, he might infer from the quality of that decision itself that there had been maladministration (2nd Report of the Select Committee 1967-68) […] A decision of this kind would be of such a character that it was clear on the face of it, or from surrounding circumstances, that behind the decision lay bias or perhaps even perversity or corruption. Any suggestion of the latter would be more appropriately referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

      “Compliance with law and departmental rules: Any action taken by a public authority must be within the law. Whether or not action is taken legally is something that the courts can determine in any particular case, and as such is not necessarily for a Commissioner to decide, at least not in cases of doubt. This means that any action must be within the scope of any enabling Act or statutory instrument and that it must also be legal within the general law of the land. It will also include those rules formulated by the courts [..] Primary among such rules is the idea of “natural justice”. The courts will enforce minimum standards of procedural conduct on all public officials and bodies undertaking responsible decision-making. All such bodies and officials are under a duty to act fairly. As such, none must be a judge in his own cause (unless the rules make him such), and all parties to a decision must be given an appropriate opportunity to be heard. ”

      “Department policies and rules (bar the exceptional case where they themselves are open to question) must also be followed consistently. Thus where a local office of a department does not comply with the rules of procedure laid down, or in an individual case the usual practice if the department or authority is, for no good reason not followed, this will be action open to criticism. In judging this question, which is not one the courts can handle, the Commissioners are in a strong position. They are able (as indeed the parliamentary Commissioner has done), to note how other cases are treated, and thereby ascertain independently whether policy has indeed been followed consistently. ”

      How far the Ombudsman has moved, and has not been prevented from moving, as a result of deficient parliamentary scrutiny, to the detriment of complainants.

      It remains to be seen whether or not reform of the legislation, a Cabinet Office work in progress, will address such issues.

      • …anyone would think it was too much to ask that when wrongful actions are undertaken by one party and the other party complains, it is a simple case of putting things right (where possible).

        To have to pass through such a list of criteria no doubt designed to filter out the bulk of complaints at the first hurdle is ludicrous. But then when it has done so, to stand such a high chance of being consigned to the bin makes a mockery of the whole thing.

        http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/pdfs/publication-scheme/annual-reports-and-resource-accounts/annual-reports/FINAL_PHSO_Annual_Report_2014-15_SINGLE_PAGES_low_res.pdf
        From the 29,000 cases “handled” (using the PHSO’s own terminology), only 4,280 investigations occur and of those, only 1,521 are upheld fully or partially (without any breakdown of how many were fully upheld, it could be 1 with the other 1,520 only partially upheld and only on minor administrative points).

        Maths isn’t my forte, but what % is 1,521 of 29,000? And on top of the thousands of other complainants who are beaten down before ever reaching PHSO, that’s a hell of a lot of people denied justice.

        Can’t wait to see the updated figures for cost per investigation to the public.

        • 29,000 is all the complaints and enquiries – PHSO don’t separate them in the report. With 4,280 investigations this is 14% of all enquiries. 1,521 were upheld which is 5.2% of all enquiries and 35% of all investigations. As you point out, no breakdown of fully upheld so many of these could have been upheld on minor matters only. With 65% chance of no uphold following investigations it’s hard to say that complaining makes a difference. The Ombudsman costs were £37 million for the year. That breaks down to £24,326 per upheld case, £8,644 per investigation or £7,315 per resolution as 5,058 cases were resolved in total for the year. 88% of people with fully upheld cases were satisfied but there is no indication of the size of the sample. Why were 12% of people with fully upheld complaints dissatisfied?

  4. http://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/memorandum_of_understanding_between_the_phso_and_cqc.pdf

    I note it doesn’t say anywhere that the object is remedy, under 2.4 …

    And under 2.5, the key is that it says it’s statutory responsibility is “consideration of complaints” – this is the con, the big lie. This is what all the regulators are saying “we considered your complaint” but the point is the consideration is an admin exercise, the consideration is always flawed!

    Clearly this is legalese, decided from the outset, they cannot be accused of failing because they did consider the complaints. They just didn’t use logic, fairness or credibility in their consideration!

  5. You’re not going mad Teresa. But I think any and all of us who’ve been put through the establishment wringer will fully understand where you’re coming from. It’s a filthy rotten system. Corporate types have the mafia as protection. Government and public authorities have corrupt-by-design ombudsmen schemes and captured judges. They also have in their pockets a captured media to dampen any criticism. A very sick, depraved and seemingly hopeless situation.

  6. Just an update on my case:

    My letter dated 26/8/15 to the Customer Care Team has escaped the PHSO black hole! The Customer Care Team has informed me that they were alerted to its existence only after the FOI Team received my Subject Access Request dated 11/9/15. Therefore, there is no guarantee that a letter properly addressed to the Customer Care Team, and received by the PHSO, will reach them. Also, despite claiming awareness of my letter’s existence in September, they waited 60 or so days before contacting me. Anyhow, I have been assured that the information I have been provided will be considered and that I will be contacted within 20 days. Considered,eh? You can see the letter here:

    https://phsocomplaint.wordpress.com/page/6/

    • I see they responded to your request with a request of their own. Now the ball is back in your court. Let’s hope that your reply does not ‘go astray’.

          • I got an update letter dated 18/12/15 which was posted on 21/12/15. Nothing of substance:
            https://phsocomplaint.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/update-on-request-review.jpg

            The envelope has a Manchester postmark, but the letter gives the impression of having come from London. Why are complainants invited to write to London with their complaints about PHSO decisions and service when the responses are posted from Manchester?

            I don’t think I could help my case by taking up the offer to telephone Customer Care. The risk that my words could be misinterpreted is very real indeed. Another thing, the letter refers to my “request that we review our decision”. Nothing mentioned of the four service complaints I made together with my two decision complaints in my letter to Customer Care.

        • I can confirm D Moore that “20 working days” does indeed mean something different to PHSO. When I asked for a reply by return I got one a week later. At least one email took 2 months to reply to and that was with chasing up reminding them. I have had FOI responses way after the deadline they set themselves. Good luck!

          • D Moore:

            “Why are complainants invited to write to London with their complaints about PHSO decisions and service when the responses are posted from Manchester?”

            Maybe that explains the bizarre reports churned out by PHSO eh. You communicate with one person and another person replies, having had the information channelled through the initial member of staff, so by the time it is responded to the complainant, it has become an exercise in Chinese whispers…

            PHSO:

            Perfunctory, Haphazard, Soul-destroying Ombudsman…

  7. Well, I’ve just had an email from my second PHSO investigator,(two investigations in four years, stemming from one original complaint !). Guess what? no changes to be made on the second draft report; the final report will remain the same. The investigator realised this would cause me distress…..understatement. Well if the investigator didn’t utilise the information and evidence I sent them there wasn’t really anything left for them to base my complaint on. Wouldn’t it be better to do away with this false hope situation using the PHSO, saving the public purse nearly £40 million per annum and just tell the public that mistakes happen….deal with it. At least this would be honest, and a lot easier to accept than four years living in the false hope that integrity exists within this establishment .

    • You are right Teresa, better to have no Ombudsman than get your hopes up for months on end only to be let down with a factually inaccurate, whitewash report. Back in 1967 they made the original legislation so weak and full of loopholes that the Ombudsman was doomed from the start. Corrupt by design; never meant to actually hold government to account. Here is a statement made at the time and I’m sure you will agree with this sentiment.

      “As for the recommendation to establish a parliamentary commissioner, I favour experimentation with such a system, but I am not sure whether I
      would rather have no commissioner than the semi-impotent one recommended by the report.” (Whyatt Report)

        • I wasted one year , when i should have gone straight to a solicitor -they never investigated , and even missed key points -i lost my late Father to [almost ]Manslaughter -illegal DNR -liverpool care pathway— without any consent -shocking /cover -up , but who can give my Dad the justice he deserves .I have found this site so illuminating , and very sad -how the truth hurts those in power -so it is repressed , always .

    • Their customer service technique of softening the blow with kind understanding isn’t working…you can’t soften ludicrous, bizarre, unjust decisions when informing people of them. PHSO really thinks we are stupid and will be fended off with fluff.

      As always, they never apologise, just apologise that YOU FEEL whatever you feel about their shoddy investigations. Putting the fault on the complainant yet again.

      The trouble is, it’s not good enough just to take the attitude “mistakes happen” though, it is not always a mistake. There are actions of deliberateness, that are then covered up and this festering wound of disservice must be eradicated. There is the possibility of remedy for many, some things cannot be undone and an apology is all that can be achieved. But for others, remedy is possible, although PHSO stops at nothing to prevent that remedy being applied and to assist the body with a continued cover-up.

  8. Almost half a century ago Quintin Hogg, leading for the Conservatives on the Ombudsman debates of 1967 made the following comments:

    “When I was at my first school, we had a rather jolly schoolboy expression for “swindle”. We called it “swiz”. A swiz was not something which involved any particular moral turpitude on the part of those who were guilty of the swiz but meant that those who were the victims of the swiz somehow felt with justification that they had been swindled.”

    “As the House knows from my speech on second reading, I have always regarded the Ombudsman as a swiz. Now we have arrived at the moment of truth. We were told originally, in a very grandiloquent speech by the Leader of the House, that the Ombudsman would deal with maladministration. We have never really been told what maladministration is. It may be that some esoteric ritual inside the civil service has not been observed. I do not regard that as maladministration. If government policy is involved and injustice is suffered thereby we know that maladministration is not government policy. If it requires legislation to put it right, that is not maladministration. I told the house on second reading that it excluded discretion, and I had the powerful support of the Lord President of the Council. The ghastly fact is that when that is excluded, nothing is left except a swiz. We on this side always knew that the whole thing was a swiz, but that was not spelt into the Bill. It did not write down in so many words in a schedule, “this is a swiz”….The bill was always drafted to be a swiz, and now it is spelt into the bill. I shall vote against it.”

    “Anyone who contemplates an Office of this kind is faced with the dilemma of making it either a Frankenstein or a nonentity – a Frankenstein if it has effective powers and a nonentity if it has not. The Government, quite rightly, has opted for its being a nonentity, and in that sense it is a fraud.”

    The question now is: What is the current Conservative Government going to do to amend the legislation, as it has committed it will do, to ensure the Ombudsman’s Office is no longer a “swiz”, “fraud”, “Frankenstein” or “nonentity”?

    What is this Government proposing to produce instead?

    We’re all waiting.

    • What a fantastic find Elaine. The wise words of Quintin Hogg explaining to the House that the proposed Ombudsman is nothing more than a con trick on the public – a nonentity in fact. Corrupt by design and failing the public ever since. Well we are all waiting and finally we have a chance to put this right. Poor use of discretion which causes injustice must be within the remit of the new Public Service Ombudsman or we will be left with another swindle on our hands. Thanks for posting.

    • Well therein lies in black and white, the proof that they knew from the off it was pointless and ineffective. What I can’t understand is, that it has taken from 1967 – 48 years of this crap, for nothing to be done to rectify it and only slightly less for the people to become fully aware of it.

      This bit confuses me:

      “I told the house on second reading that it excluded discretion, and I had the powerful support of the Lord President of the Council. The ghastly fact is that when that is excluded, nothing is left except a swiz.”

      Because isn’t the whole issue that DJM in fact has, such wide discretionary powers that all is allowed to be dismissed? Yet he is saying it excluded discretion. I beg to differ, that discretion is very much included and at the heart of the issue!

      It is a marvellous find however Elaine. I really do think that this can be used in an approach to the media. The whole lid needs blowing off this. They surely are interested in what Quentin describes as “..and in that sense it is a fraud.” A 48 year fraud. The massive salary that DJM and her cronies are paid makes it even more of a fraud – they are obtaining money under false pretences!

      • Discretion in this case does not mean the discretion of the Ombudsman to act however she’s sees fit, but the absence of judgement regarding the discretion of public servants as they carry out their duties. It is often the case that injustice is caused not by a direct breach of the regulations but by the poor use of discretion when applying the rules. This aspect is beyond the scope of the Ombudsman who must find maladministration – guilty or not guilty. No middle ground. Check out this account from the Harvard Law Review of 1962 when analysing the original government Whyatt Report. https://www.dropbox.com/s/wj4w8va8cpjlpz9/75HarvLRev%201962%20-%20Kenneth%20Davis.pdf?dl=0 The review starts on p1258 and on p1260 you can see this statement concerning the original thinking behind the Ombudsman service.

        “Still another weakening – the most serious of all – is the exclusion
        from the power of the parliamentary commissioner of all discretionary
        decisions. This is worse than a weakening; it is an invitation to confusion.
        The report says that private grievances about administration
        “fall into two categories. First, there are complaints against discretionary
        decisions where the citizen disagrees with the way in which an official
        has exercised his discretion but has no formal means of challenging
        it. . . . Secondly, there are complaints against acts of maladministration.
        . . . [T]he distinction is . ..important, because our study has
        led us to the conclusion that different machinery is required for dealing
        with them” (flf io, ii). For discretionary decisions, the report recommends
        administrative appeals, and for maladministration it recommends
        investigations by the parliamentary commissioner.”

        No administrative appeal tribunal was ever put in place and it was determined that the Ombudsman would only deal with ‘maladministration’ and that no definition would be given of what this entailed. A loophole the size of the Great Tower of Windsor. Corrupt by design. Always has been.

        • Ah, thanks for elaborating. So that explains why all the regulatory bodies take this stance too I suppose. They put everything down to “professional opinion” or “clinical opinion” and therefore any actions taken as a result of said opinion are deemed valid. It’s horrific. The GMC take this stance too. Not matter how damaging, libellous, criminal, unethical, unkind or personally biased statements made and actions taken upon them, they can get away with it all.

          Now what’s that saying about building your house on shaky foundations…

          • Correct. People are able to make appalling decisions which cause injustice but there is no way to hold them to account for their use of ‘discretion’.

  9. If you work it out, the PHSO spends £37m saying ‘tut tut ‘ to public authorities, who then have carte blanche to act as they wish. As long as they tell the PHSO that they agree with its decision.

    I’d be willing to say ‘Tsk’ to public authorities for a lot less than £37m….It would be as about as much use.

    The ‘reports’ that the ombudsman releases are blindingly obvious….

    ….Sepsis is a problem and so is the NHS complaints system.

    Who’d a thought it?

    And does anyone pay any attention to these phenomenally expensive insights?

    You might notice that there have been no follow up surveys and on how effective PHSO reports are.

    Are there any stats showing that the Ombudsman’s report on sepsis had any effect on sepsis deaths at all?

    Perhaps the public should be told exactiy what they got for the money spent on producing the sepsis report.

  10. …well that’s only in the tiny fraction of complaints it upholds in the first place!

    For the most part, PHSO only tut-tuts complainants for having the audacity to complain in the first place.

    They even have the staggering hypocrisy to admonish complainants for wasting public funds (yes, this happened to me) when they persist in trying to obtain justice and remedy.

    • EducatedJustice,

      I got a response to my SAR. Two records have been withheld. An email reveals that on 20/11/15 the CCO contacted two people to ‘QA’ her proposal concerning my complaint. She has expressed a preference that my complaint ‘be sent back to reassessment’. Seems that these two ‘QA’ individuals require several months to decide what happens next. Details can be viewed here:

      https://phsocomplaint.wordpress.com/page/8/

        • And does that mean that they are vetting something they are putting in writing out of caution, or knowing they are about to talk rot?

        • I’ve got news: “I have arranged for your case to be reopened and be assessed again as a priority.”

          On my service complaints: “I therefore uphold your service complaint.”

          I have yet to go through the letter line by line to check that the upheld service complaint refers exactly to what I think it should. You can view the letter here: https://phsocomplaint.wordpress.com/page/8/

          • Good luck, warning, I was told that July 2014, now on my second investigator about to get first part of draft report…..very very slow process…

        • Rich Squince.

          The caseworker has got back to me – “after carefully considering all the information we decided to take no further action with your complaint”. The letter can be viewed here:

          https://phsocomplaint.wordpress.com/page/9/

          Thanks to this site I knew what to expect, fortunately. A caseworker’s thoughts trumps all law and guidance! One concern I have is that the new reference number assigned to my case will mean that some positive statistic will be created regarding time taken to deal with my case. The letter does end with: “Please let me know if you have any questions and thank you for giving us the opportunity to look at your concerns.” Would my questions be answered satisfactorily?

  11. I have to say that reading some of these reviews really reflects my personal experience.

    This organisation is hardly impartial.

    It is also very evident to me that the PHSO is willing to spout out any nonsense in order to bend over backwards for the NHS and its slapdash ‘investigators’.

    I would first consider taking legal action against the NHS before opting for any ‘investigation’ from the PHSO. They are a complete waste of taxpayer’s money.

  12. I have been having a long running complaint against The DWP for 2yrs 7months and having followed the rules and gone through the complaints process, including The ICE, I finally passed my complaint to The PHSO.

    They accepted my case and a so-called investigator by the name of Lucinda Puls was assigned to my case. After approximately 5 weeks, she presented me with a draft report, which to say the least was, a load of kafka and needless to say, my complaint was not upheld..

    She failed to take into account the proof that The DWP had committed acts of fraud, deceit, intentional delay and many other acts designed to make my complaint against them ‘difficult’ and she changed one of the statements made by The ICE by giving her own accounts of events in order to suit her decision.

    I asked Ms Puls for a time extension because I needed more time to present the draft report to a legal advisor and because my disabilities prevented me from making a response within the 2 week time limit that I was given. She immediately (within 20 mins of receiving my request by email) said NO and despite repeated requests (she said no in order to save her own backside) she did not allow me more time and decided to submit the final report, her supervisor Richard Walker allowed her to do it..

    I took legal action (small claims court) and got the PHSO to admit that they discriminated against me under The Equality Act 2010, failure to make reasonable adjustments. and THEY OFFERED me a review. I gave them permission to do the review 2 months ago and I’m still waiting for contact from the reviewer.

    Having gone through your very informative and helpful website, I am in 2 minds now as to what I should do, any help would be appreciated.

    • Well done to you taking PHSO to the small claims court. They continually boast about their excellent equality work. In most cases a review is just a rubber stamp of the first decision and you can only have one review. You could ask for an external review, but I had one recently and it wasn’t worth the paper in was written on. Basically, they are unlikely to change their mind, no matter what evidence you bring to their attention. You could always join us by putting in a complaint to the Met Police for Misconduct in Public Office. http://phsothefacts.com/misconduct-in-public-office/

    • It is quite a coincidence that I have just come across your post. I have just served a letter before action on the PHSO for failing to make reasonable adjustments pursuant to the Equality Act 2010.

      This is really shocking bearing in mind this organisation is meant to be overseeing the health service we all rely on.

        • Judicial Review, from what I understand, could result in the losing party paying exorbitant legal costs. So, I think I may stay within the realms of the small claims court.

          • Good idea. Unless you can get legal aid it could cost you £40,000 if your case goes to court and the Ombudsman always wins.

          • I sent them a letter before action for aiding unlawful discrimination. They subsequently made false statements which I made them aware of.

            Low and behold they referred my case for a review (after months of trying previously).

            It seems they only become somewhat reasonable when you force the law down on them.

        • I am undecided as regards the Judicial Review because I still have a lot to read on this site but if it helps your case, I can try and post copies of my court documents etc to help support your own actions against them.

    • David they didn’t give me reasonable adjustments either, not only that, they actively discriminated against me in internal correspondence I saw when I did a SAR. That’s on top of all their lies and collusion and cover-up of course. Not to mention deliberate concealment of evidence under pretext of an investigation.

  13. After another sleepless night, I have decided to email The PHSO and withdraw my permission for them to do a review (external). This means that for all intents and purposes, my case with the small claims court and my initial complaint with them is unresolved and because The PHSO gave me unlimited time to resolve my case then it will be on hold indefinitely.

    I kind of like the irony of making THEM wait but there will come a time where either they get their act together or they will be replaced by an accountable body, then I can have my case “re-opened”. This puts me in a “fluidic” situation whereby I can adjust what I do as situations or events occur. In the meantime, I will try and help others fight against this morally corrupt scum.

    dellar…….Have you tried bypassing the Met Police with regards to the Misconduct in Public Office and gone straight to the Crown Prosecution Service?

  14. Please tell avma. Their latest guidance for complainants suggests phso is course to take with no ‘government health warning’ !

  15. I phoned to say my jobcentre advisor at Ilkeston jobcentre called Rachel Shaw had thrown my claim away in what could be a targeted attack before lying to the police about it when things went wrong, i pointed out it would be on CCTV and i was worried it would be deleted by the manager. Julie Wright was the lady i spoke too at the PO. She said now you’ve told us they will not be able to destroy it, they must keep it. The next day i was so worried i felt the need to double check but again she told me the same. Then the day after i was so worried i felt the need to triple check. 28 days later the CCTV was destroyed and Julie Wright has been on holiday for 2 years since. I have been left with thousands of pounds worth of costs and had my future taken from me. I tell them about it they just ignore me. The jobcentre worker who threw my claim away did it before going on holiday to set me up with her supervisor Barbara Dawes. Barbara figured it out before me and used me to set Rachel back up. Julie Wright must know, the parliamentary ombudsman should fix this.

    • Knowing PHSO they probably suggested destroying the evidence. Their stakeholders are the public bodies and they like to keep them sweet.

  16. I dealt with Julie Wright at the parliamentary ombudsman 3 years ago before she went on maternity leave for 3 years, but if you google her name and parliamentary ombudsman you see she was working in November 2014, she screwed me over she’s not on maternity leave, she don’t dare talk to me because she assured me cctv would be kept 3 times, 3 days in a row, the police deleted the CCTV, Julie wright doesn’t want to answer maybe this will help.

    • Chris there is no maternity leave that lasts 3 years. So if that’s what they told you it’s crazy and yet more evidence of the extreme contempt with which they hold the public.

      Did you get in writing that the CCTV would be kept?

  17. I had invested too much faith in the PHSO. My husband died because of NHS neglect and incompetence 2 years ago. I am completely outraged at the whitewash I have witnessed, firstly with the NHS and then with PHSO. The final response which I have received today (following on from my very detailed response to their horrendously inaccurate first draft) contains many upsetting falsehoods and refuses to acknowledge the hard evidence I submitted. They have no evidence to support the conclusions they have drawn (obviously they do not uphold my complaint) and I am exhausted and emotionally drained. At one point the PHSO even say the NHS were operating within NICE Guidelines when the Trust openly admit they were not – how is that possible?! The NHS get away with it and can continue with malpractice, putting other lives at risk. It’s scandalous. The report ended by saying they hoped I took some comfort in knowing that my husband received the highest level of care! Utter and complete, outrageous nonsense especially considering he died because of a deliberate decision ( acknowledged by his clinician) to withhold vital information that could have saved his life.
    I am sadly comforted to see that I am not the only one who has experienced this outrageous cover-up, but sick to the stomach that it is going on in such an underhand, deceitful way. My MP has been quite supportive all the way along- I wonder what response I will get next after I send him their report? I assume I am at least able to have it logged that I do not agree with their findings – I intend to respond again, but doubt it will have any impact.
    I wish you all luck if you are taking your cases further, justice is clearly very hard to come by.

    • Jeannie I am so very sorry for your tragic and needless loss. My heart goes out to you. As you have gathered PHSO is unfit for service and is a misappropriation of public money, designed to deny justice.

      I am staggered, that so many people are STILL suffering the same toxic mishandling by PHSO, when people complained to Parliament and have replied to consultations stating clearly what the problems are and PHSO claims to be improved and more transparent.

      What many of us have suffered ‘historically’ (in reality going right up to the present) is still happening on an ongoing basis. It’s disgusting. Join with phsothefacts group, we intend to get justice, hence Della has asked you to contact her.

  18. After my son died in 2009 the PHSO said it appeared to be an avoidable death, but they didn’t investigate….He had been ill for 23 years with Pancreatitis.

    After one assessment it was said he needed 24 hour live in care as he was in danger of a catastrophic event. He had been in our care when he came home to live with us…but some clever psychiatrist encouraged him to be independent, which he never could be as his illness was so debilitating.

    24 hour care was never put in place and 10 months later there was a catastrophic event, he died, on his own…with no one there to be with him at the end…..Heart breaking…not for PHSO.

    I have complained about the collusion between PHSO and the Trusts involved, 3 years later I am still waiting for my complaint to be investigated by an independent investigator…..I didn’t ask for them to ‘re-examine’, but they will ‘make a decision’ soon, that is, whether they will allowed it or not.
    I didn’t ask for that….I asked for an independent investigation….

    What can you say…just so……..you chose the words.

  19. Separate from any collusion, personal issues, plain incompetence, bureaucratic nightmarish speak, etc etc. I believe the whole lay investigator model for any kind of serious clinical investigation is 100% inadequate to the task.clinical advisers operating via an investigator are worse than useful.dangerous in fact.profoundly conservative in process. The phso should be banned from playing any role in health safety investigations. Lobby bill Kirkup, Keith Conradi,Bernard Jenkin, jeremy hunt, but sadly the whole model needs destroying and reconstructing. HSIB will generate some lessons to sort this but in many years time.meanwhile expect Kafkaesque judgements. My experience based on an over four year unfinished journey.most not worth recounting ..although the profound contradictions are being unraveled month by month. Still trying to find a suitably publishable metaphor.

  20. I just got another letter today with more apologies to add to the 16 in the previouse letter from Annette John. But still they found nothing to suggest there needs to be an independent investigation.
    An out of court settlement is not new evidence apparently. Even though the authority paid all expense.

    I didn’t ask for their opinion for an independent investigation. As they have made about 20 apologies about how they ran my cases, why would I have confidence in anything they had to say?
    I asked for my case to go to an independent investigator not for another flawed opinion from them, but no. Are they afraid of the answer I ask myself?

    I wonder how does Ms John sleeps at night. Perhaps instead of counting sheep she counts her inflated income in £’s knowing she is unaccountable!

    Justice will prevail in the end.

    • Brenda see my comment below, in next post referring to you
      plus:
      Brenda=refering to you above
      Plus did you see CQC rated as good(not say your experience not valid, important and revelatory perhaps) little to find on CQC report apart from: ‘In the 2011 bereavement survey, the trust was rated in the
      bottom 20% of trusts in respect of privacy and dignity and
      quality of care. However, the relatives we spoke to made
      positive comments about the care their relative had
      received and understood that they were following an end
      of life care pathway’ recent end 2013 inspection appears better although some mention of patienst complaint about complaint handling

  21. Brenda=refering to you above
    Plus did you see CQC rated as good(not say your experience not valid, important and revelatory perhaps) little to find on CQC report apart from: ‘In the 2011 bereavement survey, the trust was rated in the
    bottom 20% of trusts in respect of privacy and dignity and
    quality of care. However, the relatives we spoke to made
    positive comments about the care their relative had
    received and understood that they were following an end
    of life care pathway’ all recent end 2013 inspection better

  22. I didn’t think I would say this – but the NHS and other public bodies are corrupt from within. Having seen this from the perspective of an NHS employee, I was shocked to see how some NHS managers would treat patients when they raised complaints with PCT / CCG. Having moved to NHS fairly late in my career, I knew the work would be different, still admin, which proved transferable from similar roles in banking/finance. I expected professional standards, better if anything as NHS known as ‘national treasure’ large organisation, unlimited resources, high salaries, etc. how mistaken can a person be. Patients or family ignored, called vexatious if ring for an update, which they would as ignored. Managers would scream at patients and even slam the phone down, poor or even no customer care skills. Infighting amongst staff, 87% managers, lots of strategizing, but no one doing the work, nepotism, cronyism, no one prepared to challenge poor governance, management, practice. I foolishly thought I could make a difference, especially following reforms of 2012 and new duty of condour reporting, freedom to speak up, following mid staffs enquiry, plus others. The rhetoric was convincing so I thought my ideas would be welcomed. I am still finding it hard to comprehend what has happened to me from the time I raised concerns, which I had a duty to do as part of T & C of NHS Contract of employment. I have been bullied, harassed, discriminated against, victimised, oppressed all for daring to challenge wrongdoing in an attempt to improve patient experience. If that wasn’t enough punishment, senior managers then engaged in sham investigations when I exercised my statutory rights, I whistleblew as lots of impropriety I was suspended then dismissed, kangaroo court with false charges which they were unable to substantiate. Worse to come, reported matters to their regulator NHS England, who called me persistent after only a few calls to their office for help. They advise on-line, no wrong door whistleblower will be listened too, they said I had used the wrong door, they would not advise who I complain to, then advised me not to call again. I then called NHS Protect, they said would protect staff from bullying and harassment, and protect their property, but they have done neither – even though my evidence has gone missed from security tagged premises. I could go on, but I know you know how the story of lack of accountability and downright deceit and lies pans out

    • Linda, your account should be shocking but as you say it is standard practice for the NHS to destroy complaints from within and suffocate complaints from outside. The culture of bullying and cover up comes down from the top which is why none of the government bodies act in defence of staff or complainants. It is corrupt, vile and a national disgrace. I hope you have survived your persecution at the hands of those who are paid to protect us. You may wish to join the pressure group where we have others who have spoken up to improve patient care only to be hounded out of the NHS. Contact me on phso-thefacts@outlook.com

  23. Della – I have left a message at your outlook account. Unfortunately for me the persecution continues. Suffice to say, I have found out to my cost that Whistleblowing PIDA Act 1998 legislation is ineffective. NHS Constitution to protect patients and staff is not worth the paper it is written on. Employment and Human rights are there to be quashed and NHS managers misappropriating public money to cover up perverse behaviours to the tune of £m goes unchallenged. Even now in 2016, post Sir Robert Francis, Winterbourne, Berwick and other enquires and all the shared learning and also internal initiatives, such as Freedom to Speak Up, Draw the Line, etc. and even in spite of the NHS reporting the worst deficit since the NHS came into being in 1948 poor complaint handling, sham investigations and dismissals are still happening – time for reform me thinks!!

  24. My story is much the same as others, substandard care by a GP surgery and my evidence being ignored by the Service. In response to the draft report, I wrote 24 pages detailing questions and required responses to comments. A second adviser was asked for their opinion. The final report was a travesty & bore no resemblance to what occurred – it was purely based on the vague entries by GPs in my health records. I made a subject access request and was surprised when I received it by return of post! It made for interesting reading. My complaints of substandard care including GPs not listening, poor recordkeeping and medical notes not being updated were ignored. It was laughable that being given contraindicated medication and writing an incorrect diagnosis on a report for an application of ill health retirement is acceptable as long as a doctor says “sorry”. Despite my having to retire due to my worsening health condition, the final report stated that my condition was in my “significant past” and “stable” and the reason for attendance at the practice was a different one to what I actually attended with which was evidenced by my supporting material. As an patient, I do know why I sought medical help! This is just the tip of the iceberg of my concerns!

    I am considering using “no win no fee” service and would be grateful for any advice and recommendations.

    • The Ombudsman is supposed to make ‘evidence-based decisions’ but ignores all evidence which doesn’t fit the chosen narrative. They consider all kinds of inappropriate conduct to be ‘acceptable’as they cover up the truth. Going to court appears to be the only route to some form of accountability. I suggest you contact Hodge, Jones and Allen LLP https://www.hja.net/

  25. I dont generally ‘recommend’ services as we all have different requirements and expectations but I would mention two service providers of the kind you may be looking for, both with ‘good reputation’, and these would be Anthony Collins LLP and Shoosmiths. They have offices in different parts of the country which might help with access depending on where you live. Dont expect satisfaction of the sort we are all seeking – you will not get ‘compensation’ matching harm done, and you may not get any admissions or ‘learning’ either; but a legal case against a doctor or Trust may shake them up to look hard at local procedures. You might find yourself having to choose between a whitewashed denial of claims to be fought in Court, or accepting an offer of monetary settlement to drop the case.

  26. My daughter went to see her GP because she had felt for some time that she may be on the ADHD spectrum. She was referred by her GP to the local community mental health team for an assessment. A nurse spent 20 minutes assessing her and wrote back to the GP saying ‘at assessment there was no evidence of ADHD or significant mental health problem. We knew the assessment process was unfit for purpose and wholly inadequate so we paid to see a consultant who did diagnose my daughter as having ADHD. We complained about the Trust’s initial assessment process because we didn’t want others to experience the same inadequacies. The Trust claimed it hadn’t carried out a specialist ADHD assessment and, in any case wasn’t qualified to do so. It claimed it had carried out a general memtal health assessment and a specialist assessment would have had to be conducted at a Specialist Centre. We pointed out to the Ombudsman that, if that was the case why didn’t the Trust write to the GP saying that they could not carry out the assessment the GP had asked for and why had it written to the GP to say that there was no evidence of ADHD which would suggest that my daughter had a
    had an assessment of sorts for ADHD, the result of which could have denied her access to treatment for ADHD because she was judged not to have the condition.
    To cut a long story short the Ombudsman could find no fault with the Trust and more or less held its approach up as a model of good practice. We couldn’t believe it. It was so patently obvious that the Trust had carried out an inadequate assessment and then tried to disguise the fact that we literally thought the facts would speak for thrmselves. However, it is the case that all the bodies that are supposed to look into complaints across a range of sectors eg OfGEM, OfWAT etc are there to protect the supplier first and foremost. The Ombudsman is no different. I think probably what happens is that you have fairly junior people, with no significant experience of the health sector but whose main skill set is report writing, who take the view that it’s better to offend the Complainant than a body such as a Health Trust because the latter are more likely to raise awkward questions and have more power and contacts. I think the Ombudsman is much more likely to side with the Trust if they can at least come up with an account that has some superficial plausibility. The Ombudsman is not going to investigate a case in any detail or look at contradictions and inconsistencies so Trusts are pretty much in the clear. Net result is complete and utter contempt for the Ombudsman and the same for the Trust. Both unfit for purpose but I can’t see that they will care in the slightest about that. A sysrem that is rotten to the core. I

    • John, this is one of the things that happened in my case. The PHSO blatantly took the side of wrongdoing, saying that procedures were within the guidelines of good practice. One of the big mistakes of the Trusts involved was not identifying brain damage as new, and this was put down to a CT scan being carried out by a general radiologist and not a neuro radiologist. They said the reason they told no one of the brain damage was because they assumed the brain damage was ‘old’. My husband went into hospital with a GCS of 8, which meant he was in a coma. He went into hospital to die and they assumed it to be old damage. He wasn’t told about the damage, the GP wasn’t informed on the discharge summary that he had been deeply unconscious for some time and that he had a CT Scan that showed brain damage. The GP therefore couldn’t understand that I was requesting a brain scan as I thought my husband had suffered a stroke. You couldn’t make it up, it’s only when I relive some of my complaint that I realise just how serious it is. You are right John, the system is rotten to the Core.

  27. PHSO are a bunch of stooges with an apparently endless bucket of whitewash. They share many of the characteristics of maladministration that they are unable to see in the organisations they investigate.

    Here’s a bit of advice for anyone wasting their time with these clowns: if they claim they can’t investigate your complaint for any reason, but offer to mediate a settlement with the department you’re complaining about, TAKE THE SETTLEMENT. It’ll be less than you deserve but more than you’ll get if you turn it down and they then decide they can whitewash your complaint after all.

    • I would think the only reason they would offer to mediate a settlement is if the maladministration found led to minimal damage and involved a single incident. Cases such as mine, and others like me, where the maladministration then involved other areas of the health service and then snowballed into both primary and secondary care involving teams of people are set to be whitewashed from the start as this becomes not just a mistake but an unforgiveable set of mistakes involving more than one incident and more than one person. My case started off as one complaint, that was fought hard to deny at local level. Whilst that investigation was going on the fall out of the mistakes that were being investigated grew and my husband ended up brain damaged as things got worse. Maladministration was upheld but the outcome = brain damage not!. The PHSO quite simply are a law unto themselves, and guard the Government from any scandal involving public services, simple as that.

  28. Why don’t you take advantage of leaving the EU and the poor reputation of the IPCC and Independent Case Examiner and start your own on some sort of no win no fee basis, nobody will be able to trust them when we leave the EU. They work under Parliament guidelines.They only have a matter of years to change at which time they both become pointless. Seems good easy money. They are not necessary. Just takes a brand and solicitors sub contract.

    • As I understand it, no win no fee arrangements are paid for by compensation payments awarded by the court. In many of the cases taken to PHSO there would be no or little compensation money to award apart from costs and this would put off many solicitors. Happy to debate this point if you know better.

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