09 July 2004
Poor communication by professionals is the cause of many of the complaints levelled against the NHS, the health service ombudsman said this week.
In her latest report on patient complaints to her office, Ann Abraham said: 'When health professionals don't communicate well enough with each other, or with the patient and their families, the bigger picture of the patient's full needs and experiences can so easily get lost.'
In one example, an 84-year old man with heart problems died alone when he was discharged from hospital earlier than expected. The trust failed to inform his main carers (who were on holiday) and the warden of his sheltered accommodation.
The ombudsman said the trust should have involved the carers more fully in the patient's discharge plan but added that the failure to inform the carers and warden did not contribute to his death.
The report also identified flaws in the GP deputising service which provides night cover. A service in Norfolk had to fly in five German doctors after failing to find local people to do the job.