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NHS Confederation responds to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report on NHS complaints

Dr Johnny Marshall OBE responded to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s report highlighting poor complaint handling and service failures across the NHS.

"The NHS must have an unwavering focus on resolving complaints. The recent report shows where we can do more. The NHS complaints process must have a simple golden thread, where the patients and their families always receive an apology, an explanation and a clear description of the lessons that have been learned as a result. We also need to apply the same golden thread to staff who have raised concerns and have been let down.

Resolving concerns when they are raised must be a priority for all parts of an organisations, from ward to Board. This is central to the NHS’ wider focus on the quality of care and services it provides.

Our members tell us that we need to move away from seeing responses to complaints as simply an administrative task. Instead we need to consider feedback from those who use NHS services, both good and bad, as an ongoing conversation between patients, those caring for them and leaders across the NHS that results in continuous improvement. 

This is key to the ongoing drive to improve transparency and openness in the NHS. We continue to work with our members to share best practice in driving improvements to culture in the health service. Progress has been made in recent years. There is more to do."

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