Is there no end?

People file all sorts of things in our storage facility,
and the search is on for the most unlikely of
them all.

Much of what we store at Admiral is what you might expect us to store: legal documents, authors’ original manuscripts, proofs of ownership of designs, original photographs, football programmes, magazines…

But of late I have started to look for the more unusual, more exotic, or, to put it another way, the downright odd…

And I’ve just found that we are storing a collection of letters of complaint sent to a private hospital!

Now there is no way that I am going to let you know which hospital – or even give you a clue – not least because I don’t know.  But it seems that one of the administrators in one hospital has become so fed up with the way the hospital is being run and the way complaints are being ignored, that she has started to copy the complaints.

Of course, that means that she needs to keep the material absolutely secret until she forwards them on to a national newspaper – which apparently she is going to do when she retires in a year or so.

And the best place to keep the material secret is to store it totally away from her home, in a location that no one would ever consider as being a location for such material.  We are even storing it without reference to her name, it seems, for everything is filed under the ownership of a friend of a friend who has actually placed it in our facility.

Obviously when I heard about this I was utterly fascinated – and horrified.  Indeed, were we speaking about another hospital of the Mid-Staffordshire type where everything went wrong, then I would be saying that the issues should be made public now.  But we are not talking about life and death situations here.

These complaints are about administration, about paperwork, about keeping people waiting for preliminary appointments made prior to an operation, about giving people the wrong information about where to attend – not about emergency work or life-and-death situations.

The complaints deal with patients not being told about appointments, about nurses seeing patients they don’t need to see, about doctors and nurses having the wrong paperwork about the wrong patients… all the normal administrative cock-ups that seem to happen when an organisation fails to put a moderately competent person in control of administration.

In talking to my client about her material, I discovered some fairly frightening things about what can go wrong when a hospital goes rogue.   For example, she told me – and I have since verified it by checking with newspaper reports on-line – that 64 people complained about the Mid-Staffordshire hospital trust across a four year period before it was investigated, and the Department of Health did not investigate any of the complaints.  It simply told people to report their worries to the hospital trust itself, a complaints commission, patient liaison service, and the health ombudsman.

The reason given was that the “Department of Health does not officially investigate complaints and therefore did not look into the any of the 64 matters raised, advising people to contact the NHS.”

So it seems, if you have a complaint about the operation of part of the NHS or about a private hospital, you have to complain to… the NHS or the private hospital.  And given that some organisations are open about their work while others are highly secretive, cover ups are inevitable.

Now since the Mid-Staffs events apparently the Department of Health will look into the “most severe” complaints – but complaints of administrative incompetence don’t come into this.  And since people who are administratively incompetent don’t know how to administer anything, they are not very good at looking at complaints about their administration.  So complaints go nowhere.

If you see what I mean.

Thus we are storing what could be quite an explosive set of documents – although fortunately not even I know which hospital we are talking about or the identity of the person who is gathering it.

But it has encouraged me to continue to talk to my customers and find out if there are any other interesting things that we have in store.

Not everything we store is unusual and exciting, and I would stress that your items don’t have to come into that classification for us to store them.  Just have a look at our website and you’ll see what I mean

Alternatively you can call us on 0800 810 1125.

Admiral Document Storage
Bloxwich Lane
Tel: 0800 810 1125


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