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Complaints procedures set to be improved

20 November 2014

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Research has revealed patients’ expectations for good complaint handling and it will be used inform healthcare service improvement.

Published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, the Local Government Ombudsman and Healthwatch England, My Expectations for Raising Concerns and Complaints describes what good complaint handling should be like at each stage of the complaints journey.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor, said:

“We will now work with regulators, commissioners and providers to develop measurement tools to establish areas they need to improve, take actions to get there and see if they have succeeded in delivering an experience the public say is better.

 “Ultimately we want all patients to be able to say: ‘I felt confident to speak up and making my complaint was simple. I felt listened to and understood. I feel that my complaint made a difference’.”

The report includes a wide range of areas that patients feel are important during the complaints process such as being made aware of their right to complain, being informed where to complain and the key role that communication has throughout the complaints procedure.

Anna Bradley, chair of consumer champion organisation, Healthwatch England believes that effective handling of complaints could have a long-term positive impact upon NHS services.

She said: “All the Healthwatch England research shows people are not providing feedback and making complaints when they would like to do so, because the system puts them off. By starting with what people say they want, this new document puts the public in the driving seat.

“Compassion is key to good complaints handling, remembering that those affected are people not case files.”