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Ombudsman publishes consultation report

Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, today published a report on her recent consultation; Sharing and Publishing Information about Complaints.

The consultation was timely because of the increased focus on the importance of information about complaints following events in Mid-Staffordshire and elsewhere. Recent changes in the NHS complaints system, particularly the abolition of the Healthcare Commission as a second stage complaint handler, had also led to some confusion about the volume and scope of information that the Ombudsman could and would make available, given the legislation that governs her work.

A total of 95 responses to the consultation were received from a range of bodies, including Parliament, advice and advocacy organisations, regulators, Royal Colleges, Strategic Health Authorities, Foundation Trusts, Primary Care, Ambulance, Mental Health and Acute Trusts and the wider Ombudsman community.    

Key findings of the consultation are:

  • 95% of respondents agreed with the Ombudsman’s approach to sharing and publishing information more widely as set out in the consultation document.
  • Respondents were supportive of the proposal to publish an annual NHS Complaint Handling Performance Report.
  • Respondents endorsed the Ombudsman’s approach to sharing information about complaints with the Care Quality Commission, Monitor and other regulators in order to drive improvements in the NHS and to ensure the quality and safety of healthcare services.


Commenting on the responses to the consultation Ms Abraham said:

“The breadth of responses that we received displayed the passion and commitment that there is, both within the NHS and in the broader health landscape, to learn from complaints and drive improvements in the quality of healthcare.”

Many respondents said they wanted more information about complaints that the Ombudsman decides not to investigate. As a result the Ombudsman is reviewing her practice in relation to the information that is shared with NHS bodies and practitioners about these issues.

Ms Abraham added:

“The thorough and considered responses that we have received to this consultation have given me the opportunity to take into account the views of a wide range of stakeholders in developing and refining the approach that we will adopt to sharing and publishing information about complaints.”


Notes for Editors

  1. Ann Abraham holds the post of UK Parliamentary Ombudsman and is also Health
    Service Ombudsman for England. She is appointed by the Crown and is completely
    independent of Government and the NHS. Her role is to provide a service to the
    public by undertaking independent investigations into complaints that government
    departments, a range of other public bodies in the UK, and the NHS in England,
    have not acted properly or fairly or have provided a poor service.
  2. There is no charge for using the Ombudsman’s services.

For other media enquiries please contact the PHSO Press Office on 0300 061 4996.

Media Enquiries: For other media enquiries please contact the PHSO Press Office on 0300 061 4996.

Download the full report (pdf 535kb)

Sharing and Publishing Information about Complaints.



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