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Simplified health complaints system launched

1st April 2009

On 1st April 2009, the health complaints system in England will be simplified when the Health Service Ombudsman becomes the second and final point of contact for complaints.

Anyone who feels that their complaint has not been handled satisfactorily by their local NHS body or practice can now complain directly to the Health Service Ombudsman. The change removes the need to first complain to the Healthcare Commission, and streamlines the process to improve the way complaints are handled.

The Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, has worked with the Department of Health and Healthcare Commission to ensure the transition is as straightforward as possible for complainants and the NHS.

The new process has two clear stages from a complainant’s point of view: their case is either resolved locally or can be taken forward to the Ombudsman.  An updated complaints form can be found at www.ombudsman.org.uk.

With the new system in operation, the Ombudsman expects to receive another 12,000 health enquiries a year, in addition to the 6,000 she already receives. Her Office has agreed additional funding of £10.7m from the Treasury for 2009/10, opened a new office in Manchester and recruited over 100 additional staff to deal with complaints about the NHS.

 

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