Mother Of Child Who Needs A Wheelchair Offered £500 In Tokens
If you were seeking compensation for seven years of trying to gain adequate care for your severe epilepsy and learning difficulties which would you go for:
A) £3,000 and a wheelchair
B) £500 in tokens
In a case that went before the parliamentary health service ombudsman
Ann Abraham, the mother of the child, known as Mrs G to protect her and her daughter´s privacy, was eventually awarded compensation after having spent seven years attempting to make NHS Hastings and Rother provide a better service. The ombudsman was called in the first instance to mediate between Mrs G and the NHS. They advised Mrs G meet with the trust´s chief executive and as a result a nurse was to take care of the child three days a week and the child would be provided a wheelchair. When the chair didn´t appear Mrs G went back to the ombudsman.
Mrs G wanted £3,000 for the frustration and stress of seven years of inadequate care that her daughter had been receiving as well as the wheelchair but all the trust was prepared to offer her was £500 in shopping vouchers. It was only after the ombudsman contacted the trust that they agree to pay the £3,000 and provide the chair.
Jamie Whitburn of the NHS Hastings and Rother trust said: "All complaints are taken extremely seriously, and handled in line with national guidance and procedures."
- The primary care trust complied fully with the ombudsman´s recommendations and paid the agreed compensation.-
Ombudsman Ann Abraham said that: "The complaints system can be complex to understand and navigate and we work hard to ensure that our service is accessible to everyone."
The fact that the Primary Care Trust had to be reported to the ombudsman twice before it would come across with the wheelchair, which was, along with the three days nursing per week, all that she wanted leaves a lot to be desired. It took seven years for the trust to agree that the child needed a chair and nurse and even then they couldn´t come up with what, to many, would seem a fairly straightforward piece of equipment. And then to offer gift tokens by way of compensation shows the kind of attitude that seems to pervade the care system among those who don´t actually have to deal with people who are ill: Drag things out long enough and they´ll either die or go away and if you´re really forced to, try and distract the complainant with a few shiny treats since they´re no better than children.
Many people who do complain to the NHS do so not because they want to get their hands on all of their lovely money but because they have a problem they need resolved. The government withdrawing legal aid for those who have to sue the NHS over problems they´ve experienced won´t help make the NHS get better. Making doctors, nurses AND administrators responsible for what they do and how they treat their patients will.