A foundation trust has been ordered to apologise to a patient for wrongly banning her from accessing NHS services and using a template letter to imply she was abusive and violent.
Milton Keynes Hospital Foundation Trust has been criticised by the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman for its “unreasonable” behaviour towards 29-year-old Louise Davies. She was banned from attending the hospital, except in emergency situations, and her GP was instructed not to refer her for any treatment.
The ombudsman ruled that trust must lift the restrictions and apologise for its failings.
The ombudsman said Ms Davies, who suffers from kidney disease and severe allergies to antibiotics, made 56 phone calls and sent 35 emails to the trust in April and May last year - but there was no evidence any where abusive.
However, Ms Davies argues she was demanding a care plan that was devised so staff knew how to treat her. The ombudsman has asked the trust to consider drawing up such a plan.
The trust wrote to Ms Davies saying her level of contact with staff was “unreasonable” and in May 2013 asked her to communicate concerns via its patient experience team. The ombudsman said that with the exception of one email she complied with the request.
But without warning Ms Davies was sent a letter in July by the trust’s chief operating officer Darren Leach. This informed her she “was no longer permitted to attend Milton Keynes Hospital” and made two references to violent and abusive behaviour.
The letter was also sent to her GP, Thames Valley Police, Milton Keynes Community Health Services and South Central Ambulance Service.
Ms Davies told HSJ: “I did make lots of complaints about poor care that I received but that is not a good reason for a hospital to ban someone. I was never rude or abusive, I was banned for putting across my concerns and all my rights as a patient were taken away.”
The ombudsman upheld Ms Davies’ complaint and found the references to violent and abusive behaviour were not applicable and were included only because the trust had used an “example letter” it had failed to edit.
While the ombudsman accepted the trust was right to want to manage Ms Davies’ contact with staff, it said it was “unfair to take further action” and found the trust was “unreasonable” to restrict her from accessing services.
Trust chief executive Joe Harrison said: “As a result of the ombudsman’s helpful response the organisation has learned a lot.”