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Wednesday, December 8th, 2021, 3:28 am

Following My Complaint, Protocols and Providers in the NHS Are Changed

LAST month I raised a formal complaint, which I also wrote about in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] after I had spent an unimaginable amount of time unearthing a scandal. It’s an ongoing problem which apparently impacts 10,000-20,000 patients in England. That number comes from an operator (on-call), revealing information which management was likely reluctant to divulge.

After weeks of waiting, and within the window of response time initially promised (20 working days), I finally received the following letters this week:

The names in these letters are of reasonably high level people, hence not a privacy issue (unlike before). For the public record, here are the contents:

Manchester Feedback and Complaints Service
Telephone: 0161 xxxxxxxx
Email: xxxxxxxxchester.gov.uk
PO Box 532, Town Hall, Manchester, M60 2LA

Dr Roy Schestowitz
xxxxxxxxxxxxxitz.com

6 December 2021

Dear Dr Schestowitz

Ref: MAN/00018988

Thank you for your complaint dated 15 November 2021 regarding Yorkshire Health Solutions.

Following receipt of your complaint, an investigation was commenced on my behalf by Niall Bancroft, Complaints Officer.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns to our attention and I sincerely hope you have found my response to be helpful in addressing your complaint. If you should have any questions that you would like to discuss further after you have read this letter, please do not hesitate to contact Manchester Feedback and Complaints Service on 0161 xxxxxx or via email: xxxxxchester.gov.uk

However, if you are dissatisfied with the response to your complaint and do not wish to allow us the opportunity to resolve with you any outstanding concerns, you also have the right to ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review your case. The Ombudsman can be contacted at: https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/making-complaint or by telephone on 0345 xxxxx

The Ombudsman service is independent of the Council and NHS and is the final stage of the complaints process. The Ombudsman may decide to investigate your complaint, or will provide you with reasons why they will not, according to their role and powers. During their investigation, they will ask questions of the organisation regarding your complaint. We will fully cooperate with their enquiry to enable them to make a decision as to whether we have acted unfairly in our service provision, or in considering your complaint. Once you refer your complaint to this service, we will be unable to transact with you about this complaint, and any further contact concerning it will be between the Ombudsman directly.

Please do not hesitate to contact our team if we can provide any further assistance or clarification.

Yours sincerely

Ian Williamson
Chief Accountable Officer

Web site: www.mhcc.nhs.uk

The report:

Ref: MAN/00018988

Enquiry by Dr Roy Schestowitz

Complaint investigation undertaken by Niall Bancroft, NHS Complaints Officer, Manchester Feedback and Complaints Service.

Thank you for your correspondence dated 15 November 2021 concerning communication issues with Yorkshire Health Solutions, as you were on hold for 4 hours, when you called the service, but were still unable to reach anyone.

As part of my investigation I have received information from:

Ms Joanne Holgate, Director, Yorkshire Health Solutions (YHS)

I have now investigated the issues you have raised, and I have outlined the findings of my investigation below.

Ms Holgate would like to thank you for bringing your experience to her attention and would like to apologise for the distress caused. Yorkshire Health Solutions (YHS) take care to ensure that important matters such as this, when acceptable standards have not been met, are investigated, and managed appropriately.

YHS have trialled different methods for their telephone system and acknowledge that it is an ongoing issue, which they are continuously in discussion about with their telephony provider. YHS appreciate this is extremely frustrating for patients trying to contact the service and Ms Holgate can assure you that they are looking into this issue as a matter of urgency.

To improve the communication with patients, regarding wait times for calls to be answered, YHS trialled using an automated wait time on the voice message; however, this was constantly changing due to the length of the previous call. Since then, YHS have now initiated a queue function on their telephone systems, which states the position the patient is in the queue for their call to be answered.

In addition to the queue function, due to the high volume of calls the service is receiving, YHS have created an email through which patients can request a call back. YHS have designated some staff to answering telephone calls, whilst other staff solely respond to emails. The service is receiving a large number of emails per day, and Ms Holgate is sorry if you have contacted them via email and not had a timely response, but Ms Holgate would like to assure you they do aim to respond to all emails within 5 working days. The email address you can contact YHS on is xxxxxsolutions.co.uk

Finally, YHS have also changed the way they work with regards to patients contacting the service to make an appointment. Going forward, to improve the speed and efficiency of the booking process, YHS will contact patients initially to book their appointment rather than patients having to contact YHS.

I understand you have now been provided with an appointment, which I am glad to hear; however, I appreciate this will still not change your experience and it is not acceptable you had to face such long waits on hold, in trying to secure this appointment and I sincerely apologise for this.

Once again, Ms Holgate also passed on her sincere apologies for the update and distress caused and would like to assure you YHS is actively working to improve patient experience. Your complaint has been invaluable to enable YHS to continue to improve their services.

YHS have fully upheld your complaint and, because of your complaint and to prevent a recurrence, the following actions have been implemented:

• YHS have created an email through which patients can request a call back.
• YHS have changed the way the service works with regards to patients contacting the service to make an appointment. Going forward, YHS will contact patients initially to book their appointment rather than patients having to contact YHS.

I do hope you feel your complaint has been thoroughly investigated; however, if you remain dissatisfied with this response, the cover letter attached to this complaint report provides further details on next steps.

Niall Bancroft
NHS Complaints Officer
Manchester Feedback and Complaints Service, on behalf of Manchester Clinical
Commissioning Group

Let’s hope that my efforts will at least improve the experience of other people across the country.

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