'Vexatious' hospital complainant “would do it all again”

Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown

First published in Tewkesbury

A PATIENT dubbed a ‘nuisance’ for complaining about the care he received at Worcestershire Royal Hospital has said he “would do it all again”.

Last year your Worcester News reported how Andrew Brown of St John’s had been branded a ‘vexatious complainant’ for raising concerns about the way he was treated on a number of occasions.

Now he has been featured in a Patient’s Association publication detailing a range of stories from patients who have undergone treatment across the country, in which he says he has no regrets about making his complaints.

Mr Brown first raised concerns to the NHS Trust after been made to undergo a nasal endoscopy without anaesthetic in November 2011 and, after complaining, found follow-up appointments with a cardiologist following previous heart palpations had been cancelled.

“I was shocked by Trust's response to what I knew to be a relatively straight-forward complaint,” he said. “My only intention had been to raise my nasal endoscopy treatment as a concern, which would hopefully be used to help improve the ear, nose and throat department’s healthcare services, and I had only expected to receive a fairly standard response and apology.”

His complaints were ultimately upheld by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has since amended its complaints policy, removing the clause in which patients who told “horror stories” about their experiences to others, including politicians, could be branded vexatious.

People can still be branded vexatious if they are abusive, threatening, violent or threatening or make unreasonable demands, record conversations without consent and focus on trivial matters.

Mr Brown said: “I believe that most people at my local hospital at all levels do a great job almost all of the time but complaints are an important means of maintaining public confidence and improving clinical vigilance.

“They are an opportunity to make patient experiences better.

“I still have tremendous respect for clinicians and the NHS. Most have the best interests of their patients as their absolute priority.

“But it is an organisation creaking under the pressure of demand and so things are bound to go wrong.

“I am a little worried I might be a 'marked man' as far as some hospital clinicians are concerned but hopefully I will not be treated any differently to anyone else.

“I would do it all again if it was necessary.”

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