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Wednesday 21st February 2018

NHS told to do better with complaints

16th February 2009

The Healthcare Commission has said that the health service needs to improve how it handles complaints.


Current procedure means complaints in England are handled by health service trusts. However, complaints can be directed up the chain to the Healthcare Commission and finally to the Ombudsman.

The Commission has published a report which showed the amount of complaints upheld by the watchdog increased by 50% in 2008 in comparison to the previous year.

The report has been released before changes are introduced later in 2009 which will allow patients to take their case directly to the Ombudsman if they do not agree with how the trust has handled their complaint.

Around 135,000 complaints are submitted to the NHS every year. Of this figure, about 9,000 are unable to be dealt with locally and are passed on to the Commission.

30% of these complaints were upheld by the Commission - an increase of 20% from 2007.

The Commission gave back 17% of complaints to the trusts who originally passed them upwards because "their approach to tackling them was deemed insufficient".

Healthcare Commission chief executive Anna Walker said: "It is very important that people feel that they can complain about their NHS trust if they need to and that the trust will respond positively to their complaint and learn general lessons from it."


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