Philosophy of The Big Society

David Cameron gets to be God!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Case of the Missing Blood Test Results and the aftermath ..

Today, I got a written response from the GP Practice Manager, basically saying that the surgery doesn't get blood test results, sent to them, from MH services and that when they finally got a faxed copy (after a month of me being pushed from pillar to post by the MH Trust) I requested, they couldn't read it so they waited for another copy to be sent. It didn't occur to them to actually let the Trust know they couldn't read it!!!!! The Trust didn't send another copy (why should they..they didn't know the copy was unreadable) and then when I complained again...that is when the results were hand delivered from the Trust to the GP surgery.

The PM did acknowledge that there was a problem with communication and following their own protocols (although not quite sure what those are from here) but very much put the blame in the court of MH services.

What I am picking up on here is that ultimately it was the MH service's responsiblity to let me know my blood test results..which they didn't. Now perhaps they don't have a policy of informing patients what their blood test results are but I think they should. They should certainly make it clear whether or not they are going to notify patients of their blood test results.

I am waiting to speak to the PM as I do wish to make a formal complaint about the way this has been handled. I am doing this for 2 reasons 1) So I am treating them and the Trust the same in regards to the complaint and 2) Because if I take this to the Healthcare Commission....I reckon they will need to see where both NHS organisations were involved (or not) as the case may be.

I contacted ICAS, who were kind of helpful. I have to go through another layer of bureaucracy with them and their advice (once I have signed the consent form) is to have a local resolution meeting between all parties (with them involved). I am okay with that...only explained that I suffer with agoraphobia and so it would be difficult for me to get to a meeting on my own, using public transport. They don't provide support for that but reckon that the MH services should because it is linked to my mental illness.

From what the ICAS adviser said the responsibility seems to be with me for making NHS organisations accountable. I have to do all the footwork and ultimately (Certainly initially) The Healthcare Commission will only look at how the complaint was dealt with not the actual complaint itself. So who, exactly, deals with the reasons why the complaint was made in the first place (the underlying problems in organisations)? I don't know and maybe nobody has responsiblity for that. I think that is pretty barmy even for a barnpot like me.

Everything is so complicated isn't it?

So I now have to liasie with the PM, the person covering for the Complaints Manager at the MH Trust and ICAS in order to follow protocol.

Atually, what I want these organisations to do is become responsible and acknowledge that responsibility as well as making positive changes so that somebody else (or myself on another ocassion) won't come up against the same communication barriers and lack of accountability. I do wonder, at this point, whether the way complaints procedures are set out are done deliberately to give the complainant a hard time and encourage them to drop their complaints.

The sheep are bleating again. Bah! Bah! Bah!


  1. I am impressed you have the energy to run with this complaint. Not that you shouldn;t - you should but I would have probably given up thinking nothing comes of it and nothing will change- but I guess we need more people like you to make a change for service users (hate that expression) There are definitely changes that need making

  2. "I do wonder, at this point, whether the way complaints procedures are set out are done deliberately to give the complainant a hard time and encourage them to drop their complaints."

    Well that is almost the way the NHS Complaint "service (tm)" works in Wales. It works from the perspective of the Doctor being exemplary and then extrapolates backwards to prove the patient was wrong ignoring evidence which proves otherwise.

    But what is the point of blood tests IF the patient is not informed of the results??

    From this post it seems your Trust works in the same way as mine AND ALL forget the FACT that they would NOT HAVE FKN JOBS if it wasn't for us patients.
    WE HAVE A FKN right to know what is going on in our bodies 'specially when the "content of our blood stream" is changed BY THE DRUGS we take.

    The symptoms I complained about for at least 18 months WERE caused by the medication for BLood pressure,RAMIRIL and THESE symptoms lead an incompetent Dr to say I had serious heart disease which led to an angiogram that DESTROYED my right radial pulse.

    GOOD LUCK in your quest, Mandy.
    I am ashamed that I worked for this caring (tm) Health service for 23 years.

    I stop now as it is YOUR blog :>)
    best of luck


  3. It's red tape, common to the NHS in general.Hubby has to have blood tests at request of Shrink each month, but he has to go to GP surgery for the tests.Sometimes I just wish the MH trust would do the tests in the clinic & then send the results to the GP surgery.Another example that gets on my nerves is when either of us has sen a Shrink & the meds are changed either by dose or drug then we have to make an appointment with our GP to get the prescription change,inspite of the Shrink writing a detailed letter or fax.Years ago Shrinks gave out a prescription.I appreciate risks with other meds, but as far as I can remember the mental health computer records were supposed to link up with the GP computer records in this area (unless I was dreaming).

  4. Thanks for comments folks

    I think the bottom line is that NHS organisations do not feel they are accountable to anyone than themselves.

    The affrontary I initially got from the practise manager at my GP's surger was ludicrous. She totally denied there was a problem or that her staff might have made mistakes.

    From the subsequent investigation and letter I got from her it was clear that mistakes had been made. Similiary the MH Trusts attitude is we have sort have asked around but got no real answers.

    In fact it is only since I made a formal complaint that anyone has actually bothered to make any effort..although it has all been done in a sort of "well we might have not been as on the ball as we should have been but c'est la vie" kind of way.

    There has been no effort on the part of the Trust to improve the services. Certainly, they offered no assurance of anything that they might do (or have in place) to stop this happening to anyone else.

    Do you think it is arrogance on their part?

  5. P.S. One positive in this is that the Practice Manager at GP surgery wrote that the problems at the surgery relating to my blood test results was discussed at a staff and partners meeting and, she says, it will be used to put systems in place to prevent similar incidents happening in future.

    No such assurance has come from the Trust.