Politics: Hospital failed bereaved

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The Independent Online
A London teaching hospital's failure to deal with complaints from bereaved relatives was so "grotesque" that it defied any sense of compassion, MPs said yesterday. The University College London Hospitals NHS Trust received six complaints within two years but failed to send proper replies, the Commons committee on the Ombudsman was told.

In one case, in 1994, a woman complained after she was not immediately told of her father's deteriorating health and subsequent death and that she had to wait several hours before she was allowed to see his body. She wrote to the hospital the same day and received a letter of acknowledgement addressed incorrectly three days later, but she was never sent a reply to her complaint.

Challenged by MPs, Sir Ronald Mason, chairman of the trust, said there had been "a tragic lack of communication" but promised the likelihood of it happening again was negligible.