DAVID Phillips is keen to expose failings in Tameside General Hospital’s complaints procedure following the death of his mother, 100-year-old Ida Duffy.
After reporting issues to the hospital’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service about his mother’s treatment, David was unhappy with the lack of a response.
And when the Correspondent also contacted PALS, we also had no reply to messages left on their automated telephone answering machine.
It was only when the Correspondent contacted Karen James, chief executive of Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, directly that they launched an inquiry.
The chief executive, who replied 24 hours after being contacted, requested “specific personal information to correctly identify the patient”.
David said: “My complaint specified my mother’s name, dates in hospital, wards and bed numbers.
“If that is not information for them to identify and track, then what is?
“Why am I not surprised by all of this? It’s just a typical pass the buck, shift the blame and stretch out the process so that everyone eventually becomes tired and gives us.
“Now my mum is dead, they have won with me.
“If you (the Correspondent) decide to take this further and wish to pass my comments on to the CEO, please feel free to do so.
“If this can help other patients in the future, then that would be tremendous.
“However, mum is no longer with us and whatever the hospital decides to do will be of no use to her.
“I just hope the CEO has enough about her to take full responsibility for the hospital’s failings and to recognise these serious problems are literally a matter of life and death for her patients.
“I hope she has the power and determination to vastly improve the current situation.”
Ida, a resident at Millbrook Care Home, developed a chest infection four days after her 100th birthday and was admitted to hospital where her son had difficulty locating her.
The hospital also lost Ida’s glasses and hearing aid – she was registered blind and almost completely deaf.
When Ida returned to Millbrook Care Home, there were issues with the oxygen she needed and also David claimed the hospital didn’t send a care programme for care home staff to implement.
Ms James replied: “Please be assured this issue has been raised with the head of PALS, Complaints and Candour who has undertaken enquires on my behalf.
“The role of the team is to assist and support patients and their relatives and I am sorry this has not been yours or Mr Phillips’ experience.
“We are able to investigate any concerns raised by a patient or their representative.
“However, to do this, we require specific personal information to correctly identify the patient, as stated by the PALS and complaints team to Mr Phillips by email.
“If you are able to provide this information, I will ensure an investigation is undertaken and a response provided to Mr Phillips directly.”
David added he had never received an email from the hospital.
“I had two telephone messages in March to which I replied and left messages on the PALS answering machine. Other than that, I have had no communication whatsoever,” he said.
A statement from the Foundation Trust read: “Patient care and safety is of the utmost importance at Tameside Hospital.
“We are currently in correspondence with Mrs Duffy’s son regarding his concerns and are investigating to understand the care provided and where possible we can ensure that patients and their relatives do not share this experience of our services.”