North Yorkshire cancer patient's complaints mission

Image caption, Ms Johnson's breast cancer has spread to her lungs

A woman with terminal cancer in North Yorkshire is fighting to improve the way NHS patients can complain about their treatment.

Christine Johnson, 51, from Tadcaster, said she had suffered a catalogue of errors at York Hospital including long waits for treatment and a misdiagnosis.

However she found the complaints procedure ineffective.

A York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said feedback from patients was "welcome".

Ms Johnson received treatment for breast cancer at York Hospital, which included having a mastectomy, however she said her fears about a lump in her neck were dismissed by staff.

'Nothing you can do'

She now travels much further to go to hospital in Hull where she said the lump was identified "straight away" as secondary cancer.

"I do feel that if everything had been acted on quicker at York and I'd have got better service that I wouldn't be in the position I am today," she said.

"You've got innocent people going into the hospital and hopefully the treatment will be OK, but if it's not, then there's nothing you can do about it.

"If it's the last thing I do I will make sure that people are aware and that they have a place to go where they can make complaints."

Keiron Mullon, of the Patients Association, said the complaints procedure was "one of the biggest things" that the NHS needed to address "if it really wants to be a customer-focused organisation".

'Improving services'

He said that many people who contact them feel "that there's something fundamentally wrong" with asking an organisation involved in "the death of a loved one or what they think to be the neglect of a loved one" to then investigate that case.

The York Hospitals trust said: "We are disappointed to hear of any occasion where a patient feels that the care they received fell below the standard we would expect.

"We welcome feedback from patients as it can help us to improve our services.

"There is a clear complaints procedure for all NHS organisations, and information and support for complainants is available at every stage of the process."

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