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Trends in NHS complaint handling: the toxic cocktail still exists

14 March 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 5


John Tingle discusses some recent publications on complaint handling in the NHS and provides context for the ongoing concerns about the effectiveness of the system

The NHS has been trying for many years to get its complaints system right, but it has never succeeded. A great number of reports have been published on the system over the years, some dating back for at least a quarter of a century with the Wilson report, Being Heard (Wilson Committee, 1994). There have been regular reports into the NHS complaint handling processes ever since, yet many problems continue to persistently plague the system. Little progress has been made on developing a complaints system that is fit for purpose.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) (2019) has just published research to support the launch of its ‘Declare Your Care’ campaign, which raises several important issues about the NHS complaints system and patients. In December the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) published the latest quarterly report with statistics on complaints about the NHS in England (PHSO, 2018).

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