Healthwatch England has reviewed the patient complaints handling system for the NHS in England. Healthwatch England concludes that it is “hopelessly complicated” and in need of an overhaul, if patient confusion is to be reduced. There are up to 75 different types of organisation involved in the process of dealing with complaints about the NHS and social care. This complex arrangement of regulators, inspectorates, courts and committees mean that complaints can be passed between organisations. Problems are further compounded by a lack of consistent and easy access to complaints support services.
The complaints handling process needs to be simplified to ensure patients get access to meaningful and transparent support. NHS England is committed to improving how complaints are handled. A new approach is being piloted.
Brimelow, A. (2014). NHS told to streamline ‘complicated’ complaints process. London: BBC Health News, March 20th 2014.