Healthwatch East Sussex (HWES) have utilised a team of independent volunteers to review the processes used by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) when they are in receipt of a complaint.
This review of ESHT complaints took place in March 2023 and covered complaints from Urgent Care and Medicine. This was a pilot activity which will be refined and rolled out to other divisions within ESHT later in 2023.
The objectives of the project were to:
- Provide an independent “lay voice” review of the Trust’s complaints process.
- Assess the quality and timeliness of the Trust’s response and make recommendations for improvement.
- Demonstrate to local residents that the Trust welcomes and values wider patient and public feedback.
The volunteer reviewers examined a random selection of 25 complaints received by ESHT and scrutinised each for adherence to the specified process set out by ESHT. All activity was dealt with in the strictest confidence and the subject of the complaint was not open to scrutiny.
From this process, HWES identified six recommendations:
- HWES should share this report and its findings with ESHT and Healthwatch England as well as publish this report on their website for the public to access.
- HWES and ESHT will work together to deliver a rolling review of complaints processes to ensure that these are robust, patient-centric and that all divisions are following the same guidelines. A different division within the Trust will be reviewed each year.
- HWES will support ESHT to ensure that they better communicate to each complainant how their individual complaint will be used as a learning tool or to effect change within service delivery and be able to evidence this.
- The Trust should make sure it communicates with complainants regularly to keep complainants involved and informed in every step of the complaints process and ensure that all communications are easily available in alternative, accessible formats, in line with the NHS accessible information standards.
- The Trust should ensure it makes clear to complainants at the outset of any complaint, that the complaints process is an impartial one and that their complaint will in no way affect their current, ongoing, or future care.
- The Trust should monitor how they implement changes to service delivery as a result of a complaint and ensure that they are able