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Anger as complaining patients labelled whingers by Russells Hall Hospital boss

By Richard Guttridge | Dudley | Health | Published:

A Russells Hall Hospital boss has come under fire after warning staff to monitor ‘whinges’ from patients and families.

The Emergency Treatment Centre at Russells Hall Hospital

Dr Mark Hopkin, a non-executive director at the trust that runs the hospital, currently subject to a deaths probe, used the phrase when discussing complaints.

He was speaking during a public meeting of the board, when he suggested some people calling up to complain about their time in the hospital would be ‘whinging’.

The comment has attracted criticism from Dudley health boss John Martin, who said the remark was unhelpful.

The trust has insisted it takes all complaints seriously. The board was discussing the need to tackle a backlog of complaints that had not been responded to. It has received around 70,000 pieces of feedback this year, both positive and negative, and staff have struggled to keep up with responses.

A report, seen by the Express & Star, referencing the minutes of a November meeting, said: “Dr Hopkin, non-executive director, asked that all general ‘whinges’ are also recorded and acted upon.

"The head of patient experience confirmed that all feedback is captured and used to improve patient experience.”

Councillor Martin, head of social care at Dudley Council, was unimpressed with the comment and said: “I hope it’s not an indication of how they treat the public or their concerns in general.

"They need to take concerns seriously and respond professionally.”

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It was revealed last month complaints at Russells Hall rose by more than a third in the three months to June. The total of 163 was up from 122 in January to March.

The trust is being investigated by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission for a number of deaths over a six-month period.

Trust chief executive Diane Wake said: “We actively encourage patient feedback and use all complaints, concerns and compliments received to further improve our services for patients.

"We treat all complaints equally and seriously, and the investigation and complaint process is followed for all complaints received.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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