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This article was published on March 26th, 2014
Healthwatch England has found that as many as 75 organisations get involved in dealing with patient complaints in the NHS and Social Care.
The complaints procedure can involve numerous bodies becoming involved for one single complaint which often leads to lots of unnecessary time and energy being wasted.
As a result of these uncomfortable findings, there have been calls from industry leaders to simplify and improve how complaints are handled in order to ensure patients get better support, prevent poor care continuing and to become a more efficient and effective process.
The Watchdog report was partly based on the public responses from a survey and found that in some cases complaints were being dealt with a “bewildering ” number of organisations and care providers, from GPs and Care Homes to Hospitals or their respective Trusts. Healthwatch found that currently there are too many regulators and committees getting involved in the process which means unnecessary complications and increased time needed on every single complaint.
Anna Bradley, who is Chairwoman of Healthwatch England said: “It’s no wonder the public are left confused and frustrated. With so many organisations involved, it’s difficult to know where to start, let alone having the strength and persistence to navigate the system on your own”
The watchdog says that lack of consistency and ease of access to the complaints support services has led to problems: “There will need to be very significant change in the complaints system if it is to benefit from the intelligence and insight that complaints can offer and use it to drive real improvement for the people actually using services.”
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