Northampton hospital paid out £500 compensation after wrongfully supervising visits by patient’s partner

St Andrews Hospital, Northampton
St Andrews Hospital, Northampton

The partner of a man with brain injuries was paid £500 in compensation after Northampton hospital staff wrongfully supervised her visits.

The case, relating to St Andrew’s Hospital is detailed in an annual complaints report published today by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

It says that ‘Mrs B’ was entitled to visit her partner (Mr K) as he recovered at a St Andrew’s unit from injuries caused by a cardiac arrest.

But she became unhappy because when Mr K was transferred from one ward to another, staff supervised her visits.

Her weekend visits were also cancelled and she was no longer involved in Mr K’s care, or updated about his progress.

The ombudsman said: “The hospital recognised that staff treated Ms B with unfounded suspicion, and that staff did not follow procedures when transferring Mr K between wards.

“This, together with failings in communication, led to a breakdown in trust.”

As a direct result, when social workers visited Ms B at home, “the purpose of the visit was lost” and Ms B was left feeling “upset and distressed”.

The report concluded that the hospital had not done enough to recognise the impact the events had on the woman.

Furthermore, St Andrew’s had not gone far enough to reassure Ms B that lessons had been learnt from her complaint, which she made in 2013, the report said.

After the ombudsman intervened, hospital bosses apologised to Ms B for the upset and distress she had suffered and paid her £500.

Yesterday, St Andrew’s said it recognised that friends and family play an important role in the recovery of its patients.

A spokeswoman said: “It is clear that, in this instance, the way we interacted and involved Ms B was not as it should have been.

“We have already apologised to Ms B and accepted the Ombudsman’s report in full.

“A review was undertaken in early 2013, when this complaint was made, and changes have already been put in place as a result.”