Ombudsman report highlights instances of inadequate end of life care

Categories: Care.

The report gives 121 summaries of complaints investigated by the Ombudsman in December 2014 and January 2015, covering a wide range of issues with both the NHS and UK government departments coming under fire.

Included among the complaints are several examples of poor end of life care.

A press release on the Ombudsman website highlights three such examples of failings by NHS Trusts, stating the occurrence of these incidents “could have been minimised if doctors and nursing staff had taken care to follow guidelines and best practice.”

Two of the examples relate to misdiagnosis of conditions which meant that neither the patients involved nor their families had the chance to prepare properly for the patients’ deaths, thus adding to their grief.

A further example given was that of a young woman with a terminal cancer diagnosis whose palliative care was poorly managed in hospital. This led to her suffering unnecessary pain and sickness at the end of her life, which was also very upsetting for her family.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor said:

“Often people complain to us because they don’t want someone else to go through what they or their loved one went through. This report shows the types of unresolved complaints we receive and the human cost of that poor service and complaint handling.

“Complaints provide an opportunity for learning and improvements and should be embraced at all levels of the organisation from the Board to the frontline.”

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