DoH rejects MPs' complaints advice

The DoH has rejected calls for independent reviews to be restored to the NHS complaints procedure.

A revised system took effect in April, and complaints are now reviewed by the Health Service Ombudsman.

In July, a Health Select Committee report warned that the loss of the independent review stage of the complaints process was 'a retrograde step'.

The report called for independent reviews to be reintroduced as soon as possible, potentially to be led by the Care Quality Commission.

'There is no guarantee that the new regulations will improve the handling of complaints at local level,' the committee said.

The ombudsman may not have the resources to tackle large numbers of cases, it added.

In its response to the report, issued last week, the government rejected the committee's recommendation: 'We believe that complaints are best dealt with locally.'

The new system will improve the ability of local organisations to learn from complaints, it argued.

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