The Strategic Lead for Information Management presented the report.
The Chair commented that he was surprised following Covid that there hasn’t been more complaints.
Councillor Fish queried that some of the learning seemed more like an outcome than learning and perhaps should be labelled as such.
The Strategic Lead for Information Management responded that it was a valid point and this could be adjusted going forward.
Councillor Polley queried how external providers complaint systems worked and if they used the same audit system as the Council.
The Strategic Lead for Information Management clarified that each quarter members of his team contact every provider and they capture the complaints data for this report provided to the Committee. Feedback is then provided to the contracts and commissioning team who check that learning from complaints is embedded as part of their compliance visits.
Councillor Polley noted that a complaint about missed medication had been put under the category ‘quality of care’ she queried whether it would be more appropriate for this to be put in the category ‘potential safety issue’. Councillor Polley acknowledged the type of medication isn’t confirmed in the report and therefore there isn’t enough information to determine the seriousness of the missed medication.
The Strategic Lead for Information Management confirmed his view was that this complaint could be placed in either of these categories.
Councillor Polley also noted the majority of complaints are from relatives rather than the actual service users.
Councillor Pothecary queried the complaints that had gone to the Local Government Ombudsman. She asked for confirmation of what the complaints process is.
The Strategic Lead for Information Management confirmed that for adults there is just a stage 1 complaints process internally and then complaints go on to the Ombudsman. One of the two complaints that went to the Local Government Ombudsman however went straight to the Ombudsman and it is at the discretion of the Ombudsman to take the complaint on straight away but 99% of the time the Ombudsman will ask if the complaint has gone through Thurrock’s own complaint process first.
Councillor Pothecary queried the complaint about the Safeguarding referral not been completed and asked at what point was this remedied.
The Strategic Lead for Information Management clarified that safeguarding concerns are looked at outside of the complaints process and an internal investigation followed to look into this.
Councillor Snell highlighted that nobody had mentioned the compliments. Councillor Snell stated that the complaints do not appear to be systemic but more about individuals making mistakes and it would be helpful to know how many interactions have taken place during this period to provide a better idea of the numbers as they seem very low.
The Corporate Director for Adults, Housing and Health clarified that they care for more than 10,000 individuals who have 2 or 3 interventions a day so it could be as many as 10 million interactions. He commented that humans make mistakes and they need to know about them to learn from them. He stressed to the committee that if they are aware residents are unhappy that they do want to know about it.
The Strategic Lead for Information Management stated that they are constantly going out to raise awareness of how to complain. Posters have been put up in every care home.
Neil Woodbridge (Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions) confirmed that they sit on the Safeguarding Adults boards and coming up is an annual event where the members of the board go out in a particular week period to look at every single provider in Thurrock. The providers are not told the specific night they will visit. They are also concerned about the number of complaints and suggested that they could do a local campaign called, ‘do you know how to complain?’. Neil Woodbridge also raised whether there could be a breakdown of the protected characteristics of those who are complaining, he raised concerns that those that have enduring dementia or learning disabilities may be less likely to complain and that they may need to look at the process being made even more easily accessible.
That the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee consider and note the report.