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NHS complaint system ‘inadequate’

Posted in: Medical Negligence NHS Claims 

A recent review carried out by the office of the health service ombudsman found that over 40% of NHS investigations into patient complaints do not meet standards. The review looked at a total of 150 individual cases into allegations of avoidable harm or death, of which 61 had failed to handle the complaints adequately. Alongside these individual cases, the review looked at statements, records, the quality of the investigations and the evidence relied on.

Ombudsman, Dame Julie Mellor, is due to appear in front of the public administration select committee – which is investigating the issue of complaints and clinical failure – next week. Her office has been accused of ‘failing patients’. One case saw a hospital admit that errors were made in the delivery of a baby, only after the family paid £250 for an independent clinical review.

“listening to patients is vital to improving care”

The government said that these reviews were being carried out in an attempt to create “a more open NHS culture”.  The Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman Service investigates complaints from the public about the care and treatment they receive through the NHS. It also looks at complaints about government departments and agencies.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health said: “We’ve set out the ambition to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world and we know that listening to patients and staff is absolutely vital to improving care.

It has already introduced a new Care Quality Commission inspection regime, and has put a further 21,000 clinical staff into hospitals since 2010.

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