NHS simplifies complaints process against clinicians

Pilots of a simplified complaints system for health and social care in England were announced this week by the government.

The plans will allow patients to complain about their care directly to their PCT rather than their GP or nurse.

One early adopter site in each SHA will trial the new procedure for six months before it is implemented nationally in April 2009.

Health complaints will be resolved locally or passed on to the Health Service Ombudsman.  

Under the current system complaints can be passed between the healthcare professional and the Healthcare Commission. It can be even more difficult when the patient uses a mixture of health and social care services.  

Health minister Ann Keen said the current system was confusing and patients were worried about damaging their relationship with their health provider.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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