The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has noted that it receives disproportionately few complaints from older people than expected i.e. relative to elderly people’s higher usage of NHS and social care services.
The PHSO’s latest report indicates that persons aged over 75 frequently lack the knowledge how to make complaints. They also lack the confidence to complain; fearing the likely impact complaining could have on their ongoing care and treatment. They have come to expect that complaining would make little difference, and perhaps even make matters worse.
A more proactive approach is recommended, whereby health and care providers ensure that all users are informed properly about how to complain and assured about their rights to do so.
Elderly ‘reluctant to complain’ over health care. London: BBC Health News, December 30th 2015.
Frail older people too afraid to complain about poor care. London: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, December 30th 2015.
This relates to:
Breaking down the barriers: older people and complaints about health care. London: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, December 22nd 2015.
There is also an Executive Summary.
Raising Users’ Expectations
The above report recommends that NHS and social care organisations should use the following “My expectations for raising concerns and complaints” guide as a tool for making improvements:
My expectations for raising concerns and complaints. London: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) / Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) and Healthwatch England, November 17th 2014.
Every Complaint Matters: Seven-Point Plan for NHS and Social Care
Earlier last year, Healthwatch devised a seven point action-plan for reform of health and social care complaints systems, to promote effective and compassionate care while ensuring the NHS and social care services are able to learn from mistakes.
Ombudsman reform only one part of the complaints puzzle. [Online]: Healthwatch, June 15th 2015.
This relates to:
Every complaint matters – a seven-point plan for the NHS and social care. London: Healthwatch, June 15th 2015.