28 / 10 / 2013 10.31am
As part of the process, the report authors engaged with patients, their carers and representatives, staff and managers and other organisations involved in handling patient complaints. They received 2,500 responses about how trusts currently handle complaints.
The report makes recommendations which aim to improve the quality of care, address the causes of complaints, improve access and responsiveness of the complaints system, and ensure that hospitals adopt an entirely new attitude to complaints. They also consider issues such as raising concerns and appraisals.
- Chief Executives need to take responsibility for signing off complaints. The trust board should also scrutinise all complaints and evaluate what action has been taken. A board member with responsibility for whistleblowing should also be accessible to staff on a regular basis.
- Trusts must publish an annual complaints report in plain English which should state complaints made and changes that have taken place.
- Trusts should ensure that there is a range of basic information and support on the ward for patients, such as a description of who is who on the ward and what time visiting and meals take place.
- Patients and communities should be involved in designing and monitoring the complaints system in hospitals.
- Trusts should provide patients with a way of feeding back comments and concerns about their care on a ward, including by putting a pen and paper by the bedside and making sure patients know who they can speak to, to raise a concern.
- The Patient Advice and Liaison Service should be rebranded and reviewed so its offer to patients is clearer and it should be adequately resourced in every hospital. The Independent Advocacy Services should also be rebranded and reorganised.
- Staff need adequate support and training in listening to and acting on feedback, with appraisals linked to their communication skills.
Full details are available on the Department of Health website.
The Government will now consider this report and respond in full later this Autumn.