This site is intended for health professionals only

Time for a complaints “revolution”, report claims


28 October 2013

Share this story:
Twitter
LinkedIn
The NHS needs a “revolution” in handling complaints, an independent report claims. 
Commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the report demands urgent action over the next year to ensure there is real change. 
Key health organisations, such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Monitor have made concrete commitments to improve complaints culture. 

The NHS needs a “revolution” in handling complaints, an independent report claims. 
Commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the report demands urgent action over the next year to ensure there is real change. 
Key health organisations, such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Monitor have made concrete commitments to improve complaints culture. 
Mike Richards, the CQC chief inspector of hospitals, is making complaints a central part of CQC inspections. He will also develop standards for the handling of complaints in NHS organisations, ensuring inspectors judgements have been “fully formed” patients comments on care. 
Richards will publish his findings on complaints in hospitals in a year’s time. 
Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt said: “We saw in Mid Staffs how badly things go wrong when patients and families’ complaints aren’t taken seriously.  
“I want to see a complete transformation in hospitals’ approach to complaints, so that they become valued as vital learning tools.  There can be no place for closing ranks or covering backs when patient safety is at stake.” 
'Heart-breaking'
The review, chaired by Rt. Hon Ann Clwyd and Professor Tricia Hart, received 2,500 responses describing poor care, a lack of compassion and dissatisfaction with the way their complaint was handled. 
The review panel also heard from people who had not complained because they felt the process was too confusing or they feared for their future care. 
Ann Clwyd MP said: “When I made public the circumstances of my own husband’s death last year, I was shocked by the deluge of correspondence from people whose experience of hospitals was heart-breaking. It made me determined to do my best to get change in the system.
“We have given patients and their families a voice in this report, and their message to the NHS on complaints is clear. The days of delay, deny, and defend must end, and hospitals must become open, learning organisations. Our proposals put patients firmly into the driving seat at every level as never before, and we now expect to see progress within 12 months’ time.”
The government will publish a full response to the report later this autumn. 
Twitter
LinkedIn