NHS trusts not responding to complaints effectively

Some NHS trusts are still not responding to complaints effectively or learning lessons from them, according to the Healthcare Commission.

Each year the NHS delivers 380 million treatments and receives around 135,000 complaints. The commission reviews cases where the patient is unhappy with the response from the trust. A total of 8,949 complaints were reviewed in the year to 31 July 2008.

The Commission upheld 30% of cases.

In 17% of cases the Commission found that the trust’s response to the complainant was not sufficient and it was sent back to the trust for further work.

27% were out of the Commission’s jurisdiction and 18% backed the trusts. Most of the remaining cases were either withdrawn or referred to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Primary care and hospital care both accounted for 43% each of the cases. GP practices accounted for 11% of the total. A quarter of these cases were in relation to delay or failure to diagnose a condition or illness.

Of the cases against GPs, 45% were upheld with recommendations and 43% were rejected.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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