Tuesday, 4 December 2007

What the minutes said, with my comments

Notes from the Complaint Local Resolution Meeting on 2nd October 2007 at Bedford Heights at 4.30pm

Present: CC
DG Advocate
CB Associate Director
SS Director
CK Associate Director

The meeting was chaired by CB. Attendees were welcomed to the meeting and introductions were made. DG attended in support as CC'sadvocate.

CB outlined the ground rules for the meeting. The aim was to establish the issues that remain unresolved from the original complaint raised by CC in July and to address the way the complaint was handled by the Complaints team at Bedfordshire & Luton Partnership NHS Trust. A very helpful document, prepared by CC, outlining the way that the BLPT complaints policy had not been followed, was tabled at the meeting.

It was made clear by CB that the agenda for the meeting should be set by CC, and the meeting would go at her pace. We could stop at any time for a break if that was required.

CC indicated that she wished to resolve all the outstanding issues so that she could move on from this damaging experience and feel vindicated that she had made reasonable requests to BLPT and that these were not dealt with appropriately by the Trust. She also stated that she was pursuing this so that no other service user that made a complaint experienced the same level of frustration and distress that she had.

CB, SS and CK stated that BLPT must learn from her experience,
I don’t see evidence of this in the response.
and CB apologised to CC for the devastating experience to date and for the effect this experience had had on CC’s mental health.


The way the complaint made in July 2007 had been handled by the Complaints team (Not fully addressed) at BLPT and the fact that two letters were signed off and sent to CC which were insensitive and damaging to CC’s mental health; (Not addressed )
The circumstances leading up to the complaint, where CC requested but was not offered a replacement care co-ordinator to cover her regular care co-ordinator who was away from work due to sickness; (Whitewashed )
The way that the xxx CMHT and Service Managers dealt with this request and the provision made to cover the absence of SH (CPN) (Not addressed);
CC felt she had been discriminated against because she made an earlier complaint in 2005; she felt that additional evidence (This evidence ignored in response ) of this was in previous breaks in care when SH was absent and when MM her previous care co-ordinator, terminated support without discussing this with CC or informing her;
The inclusion of erroneous information in CC’s clinical case notes, and particular comments made by care co-ordinators that were inappropriate;
The absence in the clinical notes of key discussions held between CC and care co-ordinators (Not addressed ) and the absence of the annotated copy of her Care Plan which CC signed and returned to MG;(Not addressed )
Why CC was not offered a copy of her care plan when she requested it; (Not addressed )
Requests for information from BLPT under the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act and why these requests were not met within the timeframe and as per the legislation.


A detailed discussion followed on each of the above points, and the following actions were agreed.

CB to write to CC to apologise for the way the complaint made in July 2007 was handled. This letter would be sent as soon as possible. (This letter took an extremely long time to arrive. )

Subsequently, it was felt by CB that further investigations would need to be carried out into the way the complaint was handled, using the document prepared by CC regarding her experience of the complaint process. This will address point 1.

CB to re-investigate the complaint made in July 2007, ensuring as much as possible that independence and impartiality is maintained and that the team manager and service manager will not be investigating themselves. The timescales aimed for would be within the 25 working days as per the NHS Complaints Regulations (2006), but CB did raise the issue of possibly needing more time than this, due to competing workload pressures and the requirement of conducting a thorough investigation. (The response took considerably more than 25 working days. )
This will address points 2, 3, 4 & 7. (As noted above, most of the points were not addressed in the letter of response.)

CB will attach notes to the earlier complaint response letters to indicate that these are superseded by her response. (Has this happened? )
CB will ensure that those involved in the handling of CC’s complaint are made aware of her findings and of the effect of their actions on CC. (Has this happened? )
If CB finds that there was discrimination against CC as a result of her earlier complaint, “appropriate action” will be taken with the individuals involved (as indicated in the Complaints Leaflet).

SS and CB will examine the clinical case notes for CC to audit and evaluate the standard of record keeping, and assess the validity of what is in the clinical record.(Has this happened? ) In approximately 6 months, CC to review her clinical case notes herself, with the support of DB (new CPN). This will address points 5 & 6.

CB apologised for the way that CC’s request for information was dealt with and will investigate why(Not fully addressed) CC was not provided with a copy of the BLPT documents and information on the numbers of people given an alternative care co-ordinator whilst SH was on sick leave when it was requested. As a public organisation, BLPT must adhere to the requirements laid down in the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

CK had met with the Complaint team and outlined responsibilities regarding the request for information. A very helpful flow diagram was tabled at the meeting, which helped to clarify where the respective accountabilities lie in BLPT to ensure that information is provided to those who request it in a timely manner. This will address point 8.


CC wished to thank DB for the support provided by the aaa CMHT. This had been greatly appreciated by CC, and was in marked contrast to the experience she had with the xxx Team. CB and SS undertook to discuss this with GK, the Bedfordshire Locality Director, as SS and GK were leading on some work that sought to provide comparative data on how individual CMHTs work and the outcomes they achieve.

SS distributed an invitation to a conference hosted by MIND, and discussed whether CC would like to attend.

SS also mentioned that BLPT were in the process of applying for Foundation Trust status and were looking to develop an active membership to ensure that the Trust is accountable to the people that use its services. CC said she was aware of this, but wanted to resolve the current situation before getting involved in this. At the moment, she had little faith in BLPT as an organisation.

The meeting concluded at 5.50pm.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

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