Stress & Complaint Handling part 1.

nhs complaint legislation red flag professional
red flag prodessional behaviour complaints handling

Scroll down or click to read: ✴️ Uncertainty over time scales ✴️ And the wait begins ✴️ Uncertainty and NHS Complaint handling Info-graph ✴️ And the wait continues. ✴️ And you’re still waiting. ✴️ You have no rights once you enter the NHS Complaint handling process. ✴️ Stress caused by NHS Complaint Handlers ✴️ Red flag behaviours designed to destroy your credibility ✴️ Red flag professional behaviour Info-graph ✴️ How the organisational bias of the process make you feel ✴️ Stress causes Physical Disease Info-graph. ✴️ Triggers are not the same as being upset Info-graph ✴️ Stress & Communication. ✴️ More Red flag behaviour changes ✴️ Ways communication changes when we are stressed Info-graph ✴️ Being evicted from the resiliency zone.

✴️ Uncertainty over the time scales to resolve your complaint makes you anxious.

You did the ‘should you shouldn’t you’ jig. You spent ages writing the letter , perfecting the facts versus politeness ratio. You asked every second person you met to proof read. You argued with your BFF over what changes were needed. Before taking a deep breath, crossing your fingers and hitting the send button.

✴️ And the wait begins …

You start to obsess, fluctuating between they can’t be interested (sob) and they are interested but they are playing hard to get (yeah!) Then one day an email pings into your inbox. Yippee. They’ve replied. Hands shaking you open the email.

It reads ‘ I will make contact with you, shortly‘. You spend your days in a swirl of agonising ecstasy at what ‘i will make contact’ means. You wake up everyday wondering if today is day ‘shortly‘.

✴️ Uncertainty and NHS Complaint handling Info-graph

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✴️ And the wait continues.

Days turn into weeks. You begin to wonder if you should make the first move? All tasks on your to do list remain ‘un to do‘. You write another letter. This time after reading a Cosmo article on how to get them to notice you, you add a little more personal detail. Every fibre in your body wants to sign off with ‘please reply ASAP’. But you don’t want to appear needy so keeping it bright and breezy, you end on a ‘hope to hear from you soon’

You re-read your letter. Seven times in a row. Is the tone too aggressive? Too needy? Do the reference links make it unreadable? Is it not factual enough? Is it to factual? Finally you pluck up the courage to hit ‘send’.

A sense of relief washes over you. Yeah! You did it, you made the first move.

✴️ You sit back and wait.

✴️ And wait.

✴️ And wait.

✴️ And wait some more.

You begin to panic as you reread the content, dissecting every word for hidden meaning.

✴️ And you’re still waiting.

One day you re read a paragraph and wonder if they haven’t replied as your letter was a bit wishy-washy. You cringe inwardly, your cheeks feel hot and you want the floor to swallow you up. You feel such a fool. Eventually after asking your tarot cards. Twice just to be sure, followed by a couple of sips of dutch courage. You pen another letter. Setting out clearly and precisely the steps needed to get your relationship back on track.

✴️ You have no rights once you enter the NHS Complaints Handling process.

This letter is ignored as well. Okay lets press pause. Welcome to the ‘they’re just not that interested in your complaint at the NHS Complaints Handling teams’ process.

The Complaints handling process can make you feel you have no power or control over your life. You know your rights, you know that there is legislation that protects this from happening to you. But the complaints handling process has no respect for you or your rights.

This feeling of powerlessness and scoops of doom and gloom, start to mould into feelings of hopelessness & helplessness. As you feel you are powerless to make the situation better. You start to avoid contact with the NHS complaint handlers. Who use this to their advantage to blame and shame you for abandoning the resolution process.

✴️ Stress caused by NHS complaint handlers.

And this is before you factor in the Complaints process. All these experiences make the NHS Complaints Handling process an ideal breeding ground for stress.   

When you add the lava lamp of anger and confusion brought about when the ‘investigative’ report is finally released. Where every paragraph leaves you shaking your head and double checking the name and address of the intended recipient as the chain of events in the report is unfamiliar. It’s not surprising that your stress levels are in the up.

✴️ Red flag behaviours designed to destroy your complaint credibility.

The NHS Complaints Handlers continue to create uncertainty for you as they approach investigation report deadlines with a drive by shooting. They still minimise your concerns, fail to provide you with logical explanations based on biased professional ‘soft opinions’ and poorly researched investigations.

✴️ Behaviours from professionals that should trigger red flags Info-graph.

red flag professional behaviour
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If you throw in the reams of personal information required, followed by randomly spaced requests for more ‘facts’ whilst discounting your ‘anecdotal’ hard evidence by the different teams that make up the jigsaw of complaints handling process. Leaves you feeling both invisible and humiliated.

✴️ How the organisational bias of the Complaints handling process make you feel

Every concern minimised feels like a pin pushed though your heart. Every piece of information distilled through the mental filter is a blow to the kidneys. The horror you feel at unexpected conclusion of denial, is guaranteed to leave you stuck for the foreseeable future, in the company of those freeloading guests, insomnia & trauma.

Each and every failure to follow through on verbal promises, not sticking to self imposed deadlines and investigations that throw up more questions than explanations. Alongside the gnawing unease that the paragon of virtue, the NHS Complaints system, is actually a spin on the Emperors new clothes. Which tops up your never ending supply of anger and hopelessness.

✴️ Stress causes Physical Disease Info-graph.

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Stress creates more signs of disease in the body. Stomach pain? It must be an ulcer. Bowel changes? OMG it’s Bowel Cancer. Sneezy and wheezy? No, it’s not a cold. It’s Covid, Again!

This causes an increase in your heart rate as more blood pumps through your heart until you are convinced you are having heart attack and you are going to die. You need a bigger and better dose of stress hormones if you are going to cope with the horror of your impending ‘death’. As your heart pumps faster, it forces your lungs to work harder, so you feel breathless. You just know you are going to be placed in a Covid ventilator. Arrggghhhhhhh!

If that happens, without a doubt you are going to die. Your stress hormone machine is churning out stress hormones at 210 kilometres per hour. You feel lightheaded and are going to faint. Or die! Watch out. There’s another barrel load of stress hormones arriving in 3,2,1.

As you have less and less stress hormones to add to your brain. The stress chemicals have to borrow from other body process to meet their energy requirements. Eventually, the body is unable to meet its energy repayments. With the brain and body screaming for more energy, something has to give and the body starts to shut down non vital processes.

✴️ How stress makes you feel Info-graph

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Against your better judgement, the play-rewind-replay stress cycle finds you sitting in a chair, biting your nails in an NHS waiting room, in readiness to be called to see another medic from another NHS service.

Being on an NHS site sets in motion the set of cues why you started your NHS complaint journey in the first place and serves as a memory prompt why you lost trust in the NHS to keep you safe. Again, triggering off a reminder of the chain of events that led you here and the betrayal you feel.

✴️ Triggers are not the same as being upset Info-graph

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✴️ Stress & Communication.

When you are exposed to your triggers, your body releases more stress hormones to fire up your weak and tired body to get back up and fight or flight from the danger. As the brain can’t run the ‘critical thinking discussion’ and ‘survival‘ app at the same time, the ‘brain’ disconnects the ‘critical thinking & discussion’ app.

✴️ More Red flag behaviour changes

To protect yourself from further hurt and conserve your energy, you turn down the volume on your communication. This communication conflict creates further miscommunication, followed by thoughts on a loop, guilt and low mood. So more stress hormones are released. To cope, you spend more time in ‘low battery’ fight or flight mode. Somedays you end up feeling as if your mind is a car skidding on ice as you try to come to terms with the cracks in your understanding of reality.

✴️ Ways communication changes when we are stressed Info-graph

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So all communication will stem from the defend, attack or shut down mode. When you are feeling stressed it’s easy to misunderstand their intentions. Which may cause you to have problems articulating how your are feeling. Which completes the loop of miscommunication. Started by the red flag professional behaviour of the NHS Complaints handling teams.

Your body doesnt have enough energy to function and is chucking error messages disease at you. But the red flag behaviours of health service complaint haven’t stopped.

Your constant need to look out for danger leads to exhaustion. Tired people don’t do the embrace and chat function, and this bring about further communication difficulties.

Being exposed to this level of threat, stimulates your brain to take in and process information, and act on information differently than you would during in a non threatening situations. To the extent that your power to remain calm and not be swept away by your heated emotions is in short supply. 

Your ability to communicate calmly and rationally will be compromised.  Your outbursts will not be seen as a survival mechanism,  They will be viewed as challenging behaviour.  Which will lead to more conflicts and justification of their red flag professional behaviour. And delayed or withdrawn treatment.  

Leading to the very outcome that your tired brain and body do not want. Another complaint.

By this stage you need to be on the lookout for Red Flag behaviour changes. caused by an overload of stress.

✴️ Being evicted from the resiliency zone.

With the aid of your coping skills, you can absorb a lot of blows from the complaint handlers. Even if each blow from the complaint handlers takes a little bit more energy to recover. You can keep on absorbing blows from poor investigations, poor time management and attempts to mislead and deceive for a long time.

But eventually, one event will be enough to bump you out of the resiliency zone. It’s normally not a big event but because you have been draining the body by running the high energy stress app for such a long time. Eventually, your body thinks, no way am i going to fight this any longer and surrenders.

As it is impossible to get a balance on your coping skills, you will have no idea that you have been bumped out of the resiliency zone until the ‘stress and not chat’ cycle spirals out of control. Creating more conflict with the people who created the conflict in the first place, the NHS complaint handlers.

Before you wake up to find you have spent all your ‘coping capacity’ credit and all your lines of credit have been shut down.

This toxic stress is known in medical circles as trauma-stress disorder.

In my next blog post, how to lessen the stress of the NHS Complaint Handling Process by asking, reading and amending your Health Care record. Or finding out how many times this error has been made. Before lodging your complaint with the NHS Complaint Handlers.