Healthcare Commission Critises NHS Trusts
Some NHS Trusts are failing to carry out adequate investigations into complaints made against them. Those are the findings set out in a paper “Spotlight on Complaints” published by the Healthcare Commission.
When a complaint is made to a Hospital, the NHS Trust that runs the hospital carries out its own investigation and responds to the complaint. This process is known as Local Resolution. If the patient is not satisfied with the response, the matter can be referred to the Helathcare Commission for Independent Review.
Of the 100,000 or so complaints made each year, around 8,000 patients or their families ask the Healthcare Commission for an Independent Review of their complaint. The number of cases going to Independent Review has trebled since 2004.
The Healthcare Commission’s review of a complaint is independent of the NHS Trust and the Commission only investigates those complaints where the patient is still disatisfied following investigation by the hospital concerned. Of those complaints that the Healthcare Commission reviewed between July 2004 and July 2006, 70% were found to have been justified.
The Healthcare Commission has now ordered investigations into the complaints handling processes at 50 Trusts that have particularly poor rates of resolving complaints by Local Resolution.
At Gadsby Wicks we are concerned that at a time when the Government is trying through the NHS Redress Act to push patients into having potential claims for compensation for clinical negligence investigated in-house by the NHS, the Healthcare Commission has found many flaws in the way that many NHS Trusts investigate complaints against them.
More information on the NHS Complaints Scheme can be found in our Guide “Alternatives to Litigation”.