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Information for families

Feedback from carers and family gives our investigators an important perspective when carrying out an investigation. Here's what to expect.

Our kind and friendly investigation team recognise that this is a difficult time for you and those close to you. While telling us what happened may be challenging, we want you to know that by sharing your experience you'll help us to see where improvements can be made for the benefit of others.

What to expect

We ask you to tell us what has happened, so we have a full understanding of all the facts. We understand it may be a difficult time and we’ll do all we can to support you and advise you of additional support you could access.

Our investigators do everything they can to put you at ease during the contact they have with you. They can be flexible about when and where to meet and try to make the contact work in a way that is right for you. For example, you might want to nominate another person to speak for you at times if you feel unable to do so yourself.

Read our Safeguarding statement

Leila Hrycyszyn describes what it was like to take part in a HSIB maternity investigation after her son Rupert was born.

Interviews

The investigation team will speak to key people involved. This is usually done through face-to-face interviews. If you would find it easier to be involved in a different way, for example in writing or over the phone, we can discuss different options.

We want our investigation to be as thorough as possible. This means we might need to speak to you (or a nominated person) more than once. If your contact details change it’s important to tell your investigator.

Dedicated point of contact

Our team is specially trained to work with families.

You’ll be given a named investigator as your dedicated point of contact along with how you can contact them or get a message to them.

Our team works Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and will try to respond to messages the same day during these times. If your named investigator is away for any reason, we’ll provide you with an alternative contact.

Your named investigator will keep you updated throughout the investigation.

Timescale

Thorough investigations take time. The investigation team will tell you approximately how long the process might take.

Final report

When the investigation is finished, we’ll contact you to get your feedback on the draft report and then produce a final report.

The final report is anonymised and includes our safety recommendations.

The final report is shared with you, the trust and staff involved and any other appropriate organisations (for example, the local clinical commissioning group).

Further information about our investigations

If you have any further questions about our investigations, you may find the answers in the following helpful documents:

The trust where you were treated will tell you about HSIB and ask for your agreement to share your contact details with us, so that we can get in touch with you. We aim to contact you within five working days of receiving confirmation that you have agreed to this. When we first contact you we will explain more about how we investigate.

Ideally, we prefer our investigations to start within 4 weeks of an incident. We know that this is an incredibly difficult time for families, but we ideally like to start an investigation within this timeframe. However, starting our investigation any later than this can reduce the quality of the evidence we gather.

Families can choose how involved they want to be in our investigation. They can give us their consent to access the patient's medical records but then choose not to be involved at all if it’s too difficult. Or once the family has consented to us accessing medical records, we can start our investigation and the family can then choose to get more involved more (for example, taking part in an interview), when we’re further along in the investigation process.

In cases where the family does not give their consent for HSIB to access medical records, then it’s unlikely HSIB could investigate/produce a report. Responsibility for conducting the investigation then returns to the trust.

Feedback

When your investigation is complete, we would appreciate your views on our investigation process. We use your feedback to review and improve the way we carry out investigations.

Your investigator will give you a paper copy of the questionnaire, or you can complete our online family feedback questionnaire.

All family members are welcome to give feedback, completing more than one questionnaire if needed.

You can give your name, or you can remain anonymous.

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