Trust takes all patient complaints seriously

I write in response to the letter printed in last week’s edition from Ms Witton (‘Hospital has a duty of care to patients’). I was tempted to write in myself having seen the slant of the front page article in the previous week’s edition.

The trust provided a statement in response to this story which was unfortunately not printed in full. What was printed implied that we cared little for Mr Cleal’s predicament. Which of course was not true.

I know that the staff on the ward involved were also quite frustrated by this story as they had encouraged Mr Cleal to tape over his ring so that he could keep it on during surgery. It was his choice not to, despite further challenge by the staff, the risks of which were made clear in the disclaimer that he signed. That said, we are all very sorry that some of his belongings went missing.

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It is unclear whether Ms Witton is suggesting that we should use NHS funding to reimburse Mr Cleal or whether she felt compelled to write due to the uncaring slant of the story. If it is the latter, then I can appreciate her motive and assure her that the trust takes all patient complaints seriously.

We certainly did not, and cannot stop Mr Cleal reporting the matter to the police. Which was in fact done but unfortunately this too was not made clear in the article.

I am sorry that Ms Witton feels that I am not the best person to run the trust. I would stress that I am one member of a board of directors which includes four who have clinical qualifications. The day-to-day running of the organisation involves managers and clinicians working together at all levels. I am extremely proud of these teams that work every day to provide high quality healthcare services to our local communities and I am disappointed that Ms Witton felt the need to include such a personal tone in her letter. - Glen Burley, chief executive, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust.