National Ombudsmen
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Francis Report statement

Dame Julie Mellor, the Health Service Ombudsman, said:

The Francis Report is an important milestone and one we hope will trigger a debate that will support our view that good complaint handling should be at the heart of the new NHS.

We want to see an NHS that is much better at listening to patients and their families and responding to their concerns. Local and early resolution of complaints for individuals is important. An effective complaints process should also drive learning from ward level to board level so that possible systemic problems can be picked up more quickly and lessons learned. 

We also welcome the hospital complaints review announced by the Prime Minister and believe we have a significant contribution to make to its success. 

The NHS received 150,859 complaints in 2011-12; a rise of 1.3% on the year before. Around 10% of those are brought to us. 

We are independent and not part of government or the NHS. We are the final step in the NHS complaints process and our role is to investigate complaints that people have been treated unfairly or have received poor care. We make a difference by giving a voice to patients who would otherwise go unheard. This gives us a unique perspective on where things can improve. We share the learning from complaints we resolve to help make public services and the complaints system get better.

Notes to editor: 
  1. The Health Service Ombudsman was set up by to help both individuals and the general public. We are not part of the NHS.  The Ombudsman’s role is to investigate complaints that individuals have been treated unfairly or have received poor service from the NHS or NHS funded services. The service is free to use and open to everyone.
  2. If someone is unhappy about the service they have received from the NHS in England they should first make their complaint to the department or organisation in question and give them the chance to respond.  If they’re not happy with how their complaint is dealt with, they should contact the Ombudsman – call 0345 015 4033 or email
  3. For media enquiries, contact the Ombudsman’s Press Office on 0300 061 4996/4272 or email

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