Having referred the complaint back to the Healthcare Commission, we prepared to wait patiently for the processes involved to occur.
First we received the standard acknowledgement, which stated that we could expect to hear from the allotted case manager within 15 days. This acknowledgement was sent to us on July 28th 2008.
We waited patiently.
Eventually we heard from the allotted case manager, Ian Howe, and he told me that he would contact the health trust to ask for Hari's notes and the complaint file.
We waited patiently again.
Whilst we were waiting, some strange events occurred.
On August 28th 2008, Ian Howe wrote to me regarding the request for Hari's notes and the complaint file. The Information Access Team at the Healthcare Commission had decreed that, as Hari could not physically pick up a pen and sign her name, he must obtain her verbal agreement over the phone.
I telephoned Ian Howe and explained that Hari does not talk but offered him the opportunity to come and meet her, so that he could ascertain her response face to face. He didn't think that the Healthcare Commission would fund his travel costs! We discussed the fact that not requesting the notes would contravene the Disability Discrimination Act, as Hari's disability should not prevent her from having her complaint heard. Ian decided that he would go ahead and request the notes and complaint file.
So - a whole month after receipt of our complaint had been acknowledged by the Healthcare Commission, the letter requesting the notes and complaint file was only just about to be sent to the trust.
How fortunate that we were waiting patently - despite Hari's need for diagnosis!