NHS complaints revolution ‘needed’

  • Posted

Posted 29/10/2013

The BBC reported today that, following a recent review of the system, the culture of delay and denial over NHS complaints in England must come to an end.

The Government-commissioned inquiry said that too many patients found the current approach unresponsive and confusing. It said it was putting the health service on a year’s notice to improve accountability and transparency. To achieve this, the review has got 12 key organisations to sign up to a series of pledges.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been reported as saying: “I want to see a complete transformation in hospitals’ approach to complaints so that they become valued as vital learning tools.”

Sophie Bales, a medical injury solicitor at Ashtons Legal, comments:

“It is positive that measures are being taken to make it easier for patients to make a complaint against the NHS and to improve the way in which complaints are handled. Often clients decide to claim compensation because they are dissatisfied with the way their complaint has been dealt with as they do not feel their concerns have been properly investigated or considered by the hospital.

Although the Government has suggested sensible measures to improve the complaints procedure, I am uncertain how effective these measures will be in light of the government’s latest proposals regarding the duty of candour. It was initially planned that this should become a legally enforceable duty, but latest plans suggest that the duty will only apply to the most serious cases of harm. Until we have a legally enforceable duty of candour applicable across the board ensuring openness and transparency, these improvements to the complaints scheme will be rendered completely ineffective”.


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