Ruling made on investigation into CPR complaint against care provider for Calderdale Council

A complaint that carers would not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a woman – where there was a clinical order in place preventing this – will not be investigated by the Ombudsman.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 12:00 pm
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 8:53 am
The Ombudsman says it is unlikely fault will be found with the council  and will not investigate this complaint
The Ombudsman says it is unlikely fault will be found with the council and will not investigate this complaint

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman had been asked to investigate a complaint from Miss X – the reports do not name applicants – about a care provider acting on behalf of Calderdale Council, who provided care to her mother, Mrs Y.

But the Ombudsman concludes it is unlikely the council would be found to be at fault.

Miss X complained that carers did not attempt to resuscitate Mrs Y when they found her unresponsive and did not call an ambulance.

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But the Ombudsman noted there was a “do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation” (DNACPR) order in place that Miss X did not agree with and had previously ripped up.

Miss X said carers should have attempted CPR on Mrs Y and called an ambulance and believes this may have prolonged her life.

She tried to resuscitate Mrs Y and called an ambulance herself, which she found distressing, she told the Ombudsman, and wanted an acknowledgement the carers should have performed CPR and called an ambulance.

The Ombudsman said they do not start an investigation if they decide there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating.

In this case they spoke to Miss X and read the information she sent and also looked at the complaint responses and correspondence from the council, asked them for information about how they handled Miss X’s complaint and considered the Ombudsman’s assessment code, other guidelines as well as Miss X’s comments on their draft decision.

The Ombudsman said in 2016 the British Medical Association produced guidance which said a DNACPR is a medical treatment decision made by a doctor and, although these should be discussed with the patient and their family, it is ultimately a clinical decision.

Although Miss X disagreed with the decision and ripped the order up, a photocopy was put in Mrs Y’s patient records, and in their complaint response the care provider explained that when a DNACPR order is in place their carers cannot attempt CPR.

The Ombudsman said, while recognising the situation must have been distressing for Miss X, the decision to issue a DNACPR order is a clinical decision and not one carers can override.

Accordingly, the Ombudsman said, they were unlikely to find any evidence of fault in their actions.

In conclusion, the Ombudsman says they will not investigating the complaint, recognising the distress caused Miss X but considering it unlikely an investigation by them would identify fault by the council.

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