Resolving Issues and Making Complaints
We always try to provide the best possible care, however we know we don’t always get it right.
We want to improve our services so please do give us your comments and suggestions at palsandcomplaints
If you have concerns or an issue that you would like to be resolved you can use our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). Here you can get support, advice and information about any aspect relating to your contact with Mersey Care.
If you would like to submit a complaint online, please complete the form below and press the submit button to send it directly to our PALS team.
The complaints procedure aims to provide a quick, but thorough response, which answers your concerns properly, where possible by those who know most about your care.
The NHS Complaints Procedure is for service users, carers and relatives to raise concerns about care and treatment provided by Mersey Care NHS Trust. Carers or relatives may also raise complaints about how they have been treated by Trust staff. Any other person who has been affected by a decision, act or omission of the Trust may also make a complaint.
How do I make a complaint?
Wherever possible, you should tell someone close to the cause of your complaint for example, a doctor, nurse, or receptionist. In many cases the problem can be sorted out straight away.
If you have issues that you would like to be resolved rather than make a formal complaint you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 328 2941. PALS provide support, information and advice to service users and carers to assist in resolving issues and concerns that may arise during your contact with the Trust.
If you want the issue dealt with through the formal procedure, you should contact the Complaints Department:
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust V7 Building Kings Business Park Prescot L34 1PJ
We will do our best to address your issues as soon as possible. Sometimes the person you speak to at first will need to get in touch with other members of staff to establish what has happened and to decide what action to take.
Information from your records may need to be disclosed as part of the investigation; however we will be careful to ensure that any information about you is kept confidential.
Submit a complaint online: Fill in the form on this page and press the submit button to send your complaint directly to our Complaints team.
It is important that you make your complaint as soon as possible after the incident. You can make a complaint within 12 months of an incident or event occurring or within 12 months of the time when you became aware you had reason to make a complaint. The time limit may sometimes be extended if there is a genuine reason why you could not make the complaint sooner, and whether it is still possible for us to investigate your concerns.
If your complaint relates to the services of another NHS trust or social services department, as well as Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, the Complaints department will liaise with the other organisation(s) to consider providing a joint response. This means that it may be possible to provide you with one response letter which addresses your concerns regarding each NHS trust or social services department.
We will contact you within three working days of receiving your complaint to acknowledge it and make arrangements to address your concerns. It is helpful if you can provide a contact telephone number so we can speak with you to understand what you would like to happen as a result of making the complaint, and to discuss how this can be achieved. This could be a formal investigation, or possibly a meeting with the staff involved in your complaint.
If your complaint is formally investigated, we will agree a timescale by which we would hope to respond to you. If your complaint is formally investigated you will receive a written response that will hopefully answer all the concerns you raised. You will be kept informed and involved throughout the process.
If you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint, please contact us to see if there is any further action we can take to resolve the issue. This might involve organising a meeting, undertaking a further investigation, or providing a further written response to outstanding points.
If you remain dissatisfied following our attempts to resolve your complaint you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review your case.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Further information about the role of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is available from their website: www.ombudsman.org.uk.
If you need help or advice to make your complaint you can contact your local Independent Mental Health Advocacy Service (IMHA) who provide independent advocacy for people who have a complaint about the NHS.
You can contact their helpline on 0151 250 5090 or write to them at:
Independent Mental Health Advocacy Service
You can also contact:
Healthwatch Independent Complaints Advocacy (Merseyside and Cheshire)
The Gateway Conference Centre
71 London Road
Liverpool L3 8HY
Helpline – 0808 8010389
For High, Medium and Low Secure IMHA service contact:
POhWER Advocacy Service
Central Services Building
Liverpool L31 1HW
Tel: 0300 456 2370
Following the inquiry into patient care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Robert Francis recommended that NHS trusts should publish information about upheld complaints on their website. As part of our commitment to share information and improve learning, Mersey Care NHS Trust publishes upheld complaints every month on our website.
Every year the trust receives approximately 500 complaints from service users, relatives and carers in both local and high secure services.
If a complaint is received which relates to one specific issue, and substantive evidence is found to support the allegation made, the complaint is recorded as ‘upheld’.
If a complaint is made regarding more than one issue, and one or more of these issues are upheld, the complaint is recorded as ‘partially upheld’.
Where there is no evidence to support any allegations made, the complaint is recorded as ‘not upheld’.
Sometimes it’s possible to resolve a complaint by arranging a meeting with the complainant and those involved in the care of the service user, for example, the consultant psychiatrist, team leader or service manager. Other times, it’s more appropriate to formally investigate a complaint, after which a response letter is sent to the complainant from the Chief Executive.
It is the responsibility of the Complaints Department to identify any trends or themes within particular services, on certain wards etc., to see what action can be taken by the trust to prevent the same issues recurring in the future.
The following complaints were closed and upheld/partially upheld in January 2020:
- A service user reported that items of property went missing whist they were an inpatient. The Trust has apologised that the correct procedure was not followed and an ex-gratia payment has been offered.
- Service user raised concerns about the care she received from the District Nurse Team, following surgery.
Treatment Rooms are to look into developing regular Safety Huddle meetings to improve the remote working arrangements of staff within this service and help with continuity of care. Staff are to attend a learning session for holistic assessment and pain assessment. The recording of information on templates as opposed to free text will be introduced to support appropriate record keeping, including any changes to wound management.
- Service user raised concerns about the care he received from the Hospital Liaison Team.
The service user has received an apology and we have confirmed that the referral pathway is currently being reviewed.
- Family member raised concerns about the care a service user received when she moved into the area.
A breakdown in communication was identified. Norris Green Hub now has permanent administration cover. It has also been recommended that anybody in a similar situation will be allocated a care coordinator to act as a point of contact during the transfer of care process and ensure that the required documentation is competed and received in a timely manner.
- Family member raised concerns that a service user was allowed off the ward unescorted, without their knowledge and subsequently attempted to take his own life.
The Trust have agreed to consider informing next of kin/family when leave is agreed, with service user’s consent. Staff should also ensure that leave cards are provided consistently when a service user utilises leave.
The following complaints were closed and upheld/partly upheld in April 2022:
- Property blinds were damaged. The Trust made an ex-gratia payment.
- Complaint was made about staff attitude in giving information to children by our Child and Adolescant Mental Health Services
- A complaint about breach of GDPR was partially upheld
- There was a complaint about contacting district nurses out of hours or on bank holidays that was partially upheld
- A patient complained after a blood test left her arm swollen and sore, which was partially upheld
- A complaint was partially upheld by a patient who had to wait for an appointment and was then seen by a clinician unknown to them
- The wife of a patient was unhappy a care plan not approved by her has been added to her husband's record, which was partially upheld
- A Mum was unhappy because there was a lack of treatment available to help with her son's eating, which was partially upheld
- Parents were concerned their son was not being seen or assessed by services, which was partially upheld.
The following complaints were closed and upheld/partly upheld in May 2022:
- A patient's son raised concerns regarding the treatment his mother received and that she was discharged, even though her records stated she was housebound. The complaint was upheld and it was found that staff did not communicate with her GP and did not follow standard procedures following a failed visit
- A complaint was made that their daughter had been given a COVID-19 vaccine without consent, which was upheld because parental consent was not in place at the time the vaccination was administered
- A shaver could not be located
- There was a complaint about the attitude of a locum consultant on the ward. It was found there were failings and the locum agency is taking this forward
- A complaint was partially upheld about communication regarding care and treatment
- Another complaint was partially upheld due to a lack of communication with the patient while not all information was shared at handover
- There was a partially upheld complaint regardign a patient's concerns around her dignity and respect. It was found incorrect information had been included in her discharge plan
- A patient was unhappy with the services offered, which was partially upheld because of a lack of communication with the patient
- A complaint was partially upheld about care and treatment because there was a lack of communication and a delay in therapy
- A patient's complaint about being discharged too soon was partially upheld
- Another complaint from a patient about being discharded inappropriately was partially upheld
- A parent complained their child was weighed and measured without their consent. This was partially upheld because of a lack of communication from the service with the family.
- A complaint from a patient about their life on the ward was partially upheld because of access to acticvities due to the pandemic.
The following complaints were closed and upheld/partly upheld in June 2022:
- Thnere was a complaint about access delay over a GP's referral which was upheld
- A further complaint about missing property was upheld
- There were concerns about a member of staff terminating a call
- A parent's complaint was partially upheld because a Health Visitor was supposed to refer her son in March 2020 to an eye specialist
- Concerns about a father's concerns access to services was partially upheld
- A patient's complaint that a district nurse had refused to see them at home was partially upheld. This followed the introduction of Mersey Care's reduction of violence of aggression policy however this was not consistent thoughout the patient journey
- A patient's daughter complained that the visiting clinician lacked humanity and empathy, which was partially upheld
- The Hospice staff complained that a service user was admitted without any communication or paperwork from the district nursing team, which was partially upheld
- A patient's complaint regarding several issues relating to a stay on the ward was partially upheld
- A complaint was partially upheld from a patient concerned about a reduced service being offered.
The following complaints were closed and upheld/partly upheld in July 2022:
- A complaint was made about staff following a review. It was found the consultant did not communicate appropriately with the patient and had recorded inaccurate information and missed details
- There were several concerns about the district nurse team which were partially upheld due to lack of communication with family
- One patient's care and treatment from the team was reported and partially upheld as they were seen within planned time of four months while appointments were booked and cancelled several times
- A complaint was partially upheld concering medication and contact from the team
- A patient's family raised concerns about their care and treatment which was partially upheld
- A patient complained about the outcome of their referral to Autism Spectrum Disorder/sensory service which was partially upheld
- Another patient raised concerns about their care and treatment received from several teams which was partially upheld due to the delay in receiving therapy
- There wsa a partially upheld complaint from a patient who was unhappy with current staffing levels
- Another complaint about staffing levels affected patient care, including no Skype visit for parent. This was again partially upheld due to no therapeutic input for the patient.
- A complaint was partially upheld after a patient reported they had been assaulted by another patient.