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Hilary Merrett discusses Learning from Complaints in Outpatient Services

Hilary Merrett Independent Consultant, Quality & Safety & Editor Clinical Risk discusses learning from complaints in outpatient services at todays conference: 

  • understanding the background to complaints
  • what are the hot spots?
  • learning from a range of information
  • what will inspectors look for?
  • making a reality of your policy and procedures

In her presentation Hilary states: 

“Out of 22 complaints 33 key issues where outlined within outpatient settings

Major Themes include:

  • Communications with family or relatives
  • Communications with patient
  • Patient information about managing their condition
  • Multi-disciplinary team communications
  • Communications between different medical teams (includes ownership of patient)
  • Attitude of doctor
  • Communications between hospital and GPs
  • Basic nursing care – includes care planning /nutrition / hydration / hygiene / responsiveness to patient / dignity / catheter care
  • Staff lack of knowledge about other conditions - leads to failure to meet patient needs
  • Waiting and cancellations
  • Sensitivity around end of life / poor diagnosis
  • Transfers of patients”

“Hotspots in managing complaints - on the spot action, staff knowledge and confidence in system, the complaints plan, assumptions, and clinical Care or communications?”

“In Hilary’s experience things often escalate when staff don’t really know what they should do –Staff knowledge and confidence is key”

“The complaints plan – is having a good plan early on helps”

“How does a systematic investigation process help? – the key things are identifying key problems and identifying contributory factors for each”

Hilary Merrett' full presentation is available for download at the end of this page.

Hilary Merrett' Biography:

Hilary is an independent consultant in quality and safety in healthcare and Editor of the Royal Society of Medicine journal Clinical Risk, and senior associate of the Good Governance Institute (GGI).

Originally a general manager in the NHS, Hilary has undertaken reviews of quality, governance and risk systems in all care settings and many specialties.  She has developed, led and contributed to teaching programmes  in governance and risk management within the UK, Ireland and overseas for a number of years.  She has consulted, written and lectured internationally on governance, quality and patient safety issues.

She developed and chaired the Healthcare Risk Forum, one of the first networks for risk and governance managers in the UK.  She has worked with the National Patient Safety Agency on their root cause analysis eLearning toolkit, and undertakes investigations and training in investigation across all health and social care settings.

She has developed and deployed quality, safety and risk assessment methodologies for all types of public sector settings and developed whole systems risk management standards. Most recently, Hilary has helped several health and care organisations develop their quality and risk systems, supported Trusts with Monitor Quality Governance assessments and co-authored the Good Governance Handbook for the Healthcare Quality Improvement Authority, in partnership with GGI. 

She is a member of the Institute of Healthcare Management, Royal Society of Medicine  and  the Institute of Risk Management.

Download: Hilary Merrett's Presentation

12 February 2015


    Partner Organisations

    The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation TrustInPracticeClinical Audit Support CentrePlayoutJust For Nurses
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