Published: 05/12/2002, Volume112 No. 5834 Page 8

The health service ombudsman has criticised Barts and the London trust for its 'extreme and unreasonable'delays in providing a satisfactory response to a complainant's concerns for nine months.

The woman complained about her treatment in January 2001.She was dissatisfied with the response and wrote to the chief executive in May, June, July, September, October and November without receiving a full reply.She subsequently died and her complaint was taken up by a relative who received a satisfactory reply in March 2003.'Despite the fact that the trust's handling of complaints had been the subject of previous investigations and despite promises to improve matters the handling of this complaint had been inadequate, ' the ombudsman concluded.

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