National Ombudsmen
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Ombudsman lends an ear to Stockton

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) Rob Behrens is in Stockton on Tees from Monday 20 to Tuesday 21 March for the first of a series of regional roadshows around the country to directly hear about issues facing members of the local community.

PHSO makes final decisions on complaints from members of the public who are not satisfied with the service they have received from the NHS in England or the UK Government and its agencies.

The Ombudsman deals with a variety of complaints from child maintenance payments, driving licences and immigration issues, to failings within the NHS such as delayed treatments, misdiagnoses, and avoidable deaths.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Rob Behrens recently said:

“When things go wrong in public services, people must be able to hold the NHS, the Government and its agencies to account so that standards improve. The Ombudsman plays an important role in helping the public get justice.

“Not everyone feels comfortable complaining or knows who to turn to for help, but we are here to listen and learn. I’m delighted to be in Stockton for our first roadshow to hear about issues facing members of the local community.

“We want to encourage people who have had a bad experience to make a complaint. By sharing their story, they can help improve public services for everyone and help stop mistakes from happening again.” 

While in Stockton, the Ombudsman will visit different sectors of the local community to meet people and explain his role in helping them get justice when things go wrong in public services.

PHSO will hold a free advice clinic for members of the public on Tuesday 21 March at Citizens Advice. The Ombudsman's caseworkers will be on hand to help anyone who has had issues when using a public service or the NHS. They'll talk through the process for complaints and the options available to people who want to complain.

The Ombudsman will also visit Tennant Street Medical Centre to hear about their experience of using the NHS Complaints Standards that have been trialled there. The Complaints Standards support organisations to provide a quicker, simpler and more streamlined complaint handling service for the benefit of the public.

The Ombudsman will also visit Stockton Riverside College to talk to students about his role, issues facing complainants and answer questions about life in public service.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Stockton Riverside College principal Lesley Graham recently said:

“As a further education college, we aim to offer our students as wide a range of opportunities and experiences as possible to help them in their future lives. To have the chance to meet the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in person and gain a greater understanding of the role the service plays in wider society will undoubtedly be a valuable experience for our learners.”

The visit has been organised in conjunction with local charity Catalyst Stockton, who work with other organisations to find innovative solutions to drive improvements in the local area.

CEO of Catalyst Stockton, Jon Carling recently commented:

“We look forward to welcoming Rob to Stockton and to showcase some of the incredible work our organisations undertake to support the local community. We have several project visits planned for Rob, and we know he is keen to hear from members of our diverse community about any issues they have experienced or barriers that prevent them from accessing the services at PHSO.”

Notes to Editors

The PHSO can investigate complaints about the NHS in England, central Government and its agencies. Find out more about which organisations we can investigate.

See further information on how to make a complaint.

The advice clinic will be held at Citizens Advice on Tuesday 21 March between 10:30 and 15:30 at Stockton and District Advice and Information Service, Wellington Square Shopping Centre, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1RH. The clinic is open to members of the public.


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