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Complaints Handling, Investigating, Resolving and Learning

Russell Barr speaksRussell Barr speaks

Chaired by Paul Jebb Experience of Care Professional Lead NHS England, this conference provides a practical guide to handling, investigating, responding and learning from complaints in health and social care.

Russell Barr Director of Investigations Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman opens the conference with a presentation looking at Lessons from Complaints to the Ombudsman and investigations - How do we quality assure the investigation of complaints and ensure change at a local level. His session includes:

• lessons from complaints to the ombudsman and investigations
• how do we make it easier for people to complain?
• outcomes and resolution of complaints: what do people want?
• how do we quality assure investigation of complaints and ensure change happens as
 a result of complaints at a local level 

Russell discussed:

"Case Study One – Issues raised by family – avoidable death of a 3 yr old boy.

Family believe – processes should take learning from what happened, checks and balances should be included to make processes more robust.  Patient/family should be consulted – assumptions shouldn’t be made of what the family wants.

Seems obvious but doesn’t always happen.

What, how and why it happened – try to prevent recurrence.

Perception is important – not just doing things the right way but seen to be doing them in an open and transparent way – unless you do this families don’t know even if you are doing things properly and trust breaks down.

Single point of contact for family – should have training in dealing with bereaved families, should be privy to all decisions during process but not necessarily a decision maker, primary role as conduit of info between organisations and family.  Not so senior that they are unlikely to have time to spend with family/complainant.

Professional Investigations and Governance – lack of process around recording decisions and demonstrating how and why decisions made – hard to justify. 

Always have in mind - What would an independent person think if they came in and saw what was happening?  What would the press make of what is happening?

Empowerment is not the same as seniority - recognition of lead investigator is important otherwise people might not co-operate.

Duty of candour – development of culture of accountabilitiy and transparency is a key requirement for continuous improvement and learning.

Consequences – its about preventing stress and distress to the family, negative press coverage, recurrence of issues, by operating better practice.

Remedy – involve family in training, human impact (video of parents shown before training) makes training much more effective as makes it so real.

Offer family opportunity to present to the board – keep very senior people in touch with reality of the issues.

Things will go wrong – this is human nature and inevitable, but when they go wrong they can be turned into positive thing, massive impact on families/patients."

Russell's bio....

Russell’s career is centred on investigations and has involved him working in both the public and private sector.  He gained his training in investigations as a Detective in the Metropolitan Police Service before moving on to work in the private sector at the retailer, Dixons Retail, as the Head of Corporate Protection and Investigations.  Following this, he then went on to work for the FTSE 100 pharmaceuticals company, AstraZeneca, as the Regional Investigations Director for Europe , the Middle East and Africa where his work concentrated on investigations into bribery and corruption, fraud and regulatory breaches within the healthcare sector.  Russell joined the PHSO as the Director of Investigations in February 2014.

Paul Jebb follows with a presentation on real time resolution of concerns and complaints at the point of service.  His session includes:

• encouraging and responding to feedback, concerns and complaints in real time
• complaints at the point of service: frontline resolution
• embracing and encouraging feedback through social media including Twitter
• ensuring feedback leads to change 

Paul discusses:

"Real time resolution of concerns and complaints at the point of service.

Process – very paper based.  Forms being submitted.  Now online, much more efficient, work with staff to make system easy to use

How to deal with people – communication and compassion, not defensiveness.

Publication of stats

Real time feedback – person centred service, one point of access.  Social media – very immediate and spreads wide, online.

Patient opinion – everyone can hear the story

Published ‘Raising a concern’ document – what happens, how to complain

Posters for the ward, ‘I don’t want to complain, but…’ gives people info about how to raise issues, this is good much better to air it immediately and have chance to put things right.

Sensitivity, honesty, make it personal, not generic.

Make a sincere apology, it really makes a massive difference.

Have a group of volunteers ‘listeners’ who go around wards speaking to patients and getting feedback.

Revision of complaints model – randomly selected cases are reviewed to learn lessons."

Paul's bio...

Paul qualified as a nurse in 1996 and worked in numerous posts within nursing, as well as a period in operational management, then in 2010 returned to nurse management as Assistant Director of Nursing & Head of Patient experience at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS FT. From October 2014, Paul undertook a secondment to the National Patient Experience team at NHS England as experience of Care Professional Lead, leading on developing Always Events, aspects of the carers work stream and toolkit development to enhance experience of care.

In April 2016 Paul became an International Fellow of the England Centre for Practice Development at the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Canterbury Christ Church University.

In February 2014 Paul was honoured to be offered an Honorary Senior Lectureship at the University of Central Lancashire.

Paul is also a member of an NMC Professional Standards advisory panel, which aims to give strategic direction to the NMC Executive team and to improve the dialogue between the NMC and leaders in the professions and to ensure expertise, is brought to bear on NMC work. Paul is also part of the strategic group to refresh the NMC Education Standards.

Also of interest: 

Effective Communications Masterclass
Monday 4 July 2016
Hallam Conference Centre, London

13 May 2016


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