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14 Aug 2022

Hospital accused of ‘foot-dragging’ over reinvestigation of complaint

Moville man waiting for three-year-old complaint to be reinvestigated after apology from hospital  

Enda Craig, Moville

Enda Craig was told in February that he was entitled to a reinvestigation of his original complaint

An Inishowen man who received an apology from Letterkenny University Hospital over how a complaint was handled says he is disappointed that management has not begun a reinvestigation of the matter more than three years after the initial complaint was made.

Enda Craig, 74,  was told in February by the Health Service Executive’s National Complaints Governance and Learning Team that he was entitled to a reinvestigation of his original complaint after the office of the Ombudsman, which examine complaints from members of the public who believe they have been unfairly treated by public services, upheld his complaint about how his claims were handled by the hospital. 

The Moville man’s complaint related to his admission to the hospital in May 2019  for treatment for a heart condition.

The complaint about how he was treated was not upheld by the hospital.

After making a complaint to the Ombudsman about the hospital’s handling of the case, he was exonerated of accusations of threatening and abusive behaviour against a member of staff and received an apology.

The senior member of the medical staff who oversaw the investigation into his complaint has since left the hospital.

The Ombudsman's report found that CCTV footage did not support some of the hospital’s responses to Mr Craig’s complaint and that a number of key witnesses were not consulted or interviewed.

The National Complaints Governance and Learning Team made 23 recommendations to bring Letterkenny University Hospital's complaint processes back into compliance.

Mr Craig said he is frustrated that the hospital is still to open the reinvestigation of his complaint about how he was treated in May 2019. 

“I am so disappointed that Letterkenny University Hospital, who have been found guilty of pretty horrible stuff about how they treated me and having sent me an apology, has not started this re-investigation,” he said.

“You would think that they would be quite anxious to comply with their own regulations and would have gone out of their way to carry out the reinvestigation I am entitled to and instead I find the complete opposite.

 “It is so disappointing because it was not me that did anything wrong here - they were found guilty by the National Complaints Governance and Learning Team and they apologised. 

“I am just assuming the recommendations have been put in place and if you have a genuine complaint you are going to get fair play and I am disappointed that there is foot-dragging and there does not seem to be any interest in me getting the reinvestigation that I am entitled  to.”

Mr Craig has written to the hospital’s manager Seán Murphy several times in recent months about the delay in opening the reinvestigation. He has been told “it is proving difficult to identify someone of the appropriate experience who is independent of Letterkenny University Hospital and Saolta who is free at this time to undertake this re-investigation.”

The Saolta University Health Care Group said management at the hospital and the group have been working to secure the services of a suitably qualified complaints officer to undertake a reinvestigation of the original issues raised by the complainant. 

“These efforts are continuing and the hospital is currently awaiting a response from those approached,” the group said.

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