What are the solutions?
We need wholescale reform and culture change to create a system that is simple, seamless and stress-free for consumers and offers users meaningful resolution. We have put together a seven point action plan, setting out key changes that need to be made to ensure the complaints system works. We are calling on the government to make these changes a priority.
- Make it easier for everyone to complain - by giving one national organisation responsibility for providing patients and the public with improved information and education about how to raise concerns.
- Create a single, properly funded complaints advocacy service - provided under the Healthwatch banner which would provide users of both the NHS and social care with the same level of support wherever they live in the country.
- Drive up the quality of complaints handling - using the NHS constitution and complaints regulations to clearly set out people's right to complain and what they should expect in response.
- Require every organisation involved in complaints handling to ensure people's complaints reach the right destination - removing the burden currently placed on patients to pursue their complaint.
- Establish clear responsibility for capturing system-wide learning from complaints - identifying trends and ensuring national policy change properly addresses concerns.
- Make it mandatory for every complaint, regardless of how it is made or which service it is about, to be recorded and reported to the HSCIC - enabling the system to track progress through a national measure of consumer experience of the complaints process.
- Department of Health to conduct a review of the whole complaints landscape - consider simplification and streamlining of processes across the 70 plus organisations involved.
Download 'Every Complaint Matters' our seven-point action plan for the NHS and social care.