Help called in to reduce hospital complaint rates

New West Herts NHS Trust Chief Executive Samantha Jones.
New West Herts NHS Trust Chief Executive Samantha Jones.

A hospital boss has called in outside help in a bid to combat complaints from patients.

Chief executive of West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust Samantha Jones says she is learning from hospital campaigner Julie Bailey who exposed failings at the Stafford Hospital and founded the Cure The NHS group following the death of her mother in 2007.

Mrs Jones, who joined the trust in February, is also getting help from The Patients Association – a national voluntary organisation that campaigns for improvements to health and social care.

The way the trust, which runs Hemel Hempstead’s Urgent Care Centre, Watford and St Albans hospitals, deals with its complaints is the latest issue that the new boss has put the spotlight on.

She said: “I have asked for help from people outside and organisations to look at how we work.

“I’m not comfortable that we work with our patients in the way we should do – so, before they feel the need to put in a formal complaint, I want to make sure we do everything we can to resolve issues.”

For the financial year 2012/13, the trust investigated 530 formal complaints, but it also received many hundreds of thank you letters, cards, notes and small gifts, that were sent directly to wards.

During the same period the chief executive received 109 formal compliment letters.