NHS complaints: New regulator needed, AMs say

Hospital corridor The review said more must be done to monitor complaints and reduce stress on patients and families

Related Stories

NHS complaints should be handled by a new independent regulator due to a defensive attitude in the health service, an assembly review has said.

The health committee called for a "more open and honest system", claiming there was a "lockdown" culture in the way complaints were currently handled.

AMs were concerned that staff feared victimisation if they raised issues.

The review follows criticism that some patients' concerns were not being heard.

The committee's findings follow a report by ex-Panasonic UK and Ireland boss Keith Evans, which criticised the current complaints system, Putting Things Right.

It made 100 recommendations aimed at strengthening the NHS complaints process.

Line break

In a letter to Health Minister Mark Drakeford, the assembly's health and social care committee set out 11 key issues it wants the government and NHS in Wales to consider.

They include:

  • The introduction of an independent regulator
  • Accountability and strengthening of leadership
  • Monitoring of complaints handling
  • Recording of informal incidents or complaints
  • Support for staff including feedback
  • Making complaints data available
  • Improved response times to complaints
Line break

Committee chairman David Rees AM said most patients had positive experiences, but he felt a culture change was needed to improve complaints handling and monitoring to reduce stress on patients and families.

He said: "We believe that, on the rare occasions when things go wrong, the way complaints are handled needs significant improvement.

"Those making complaints, whether staff or patients, should feel able to do so without fear that their careers or care could be adversely affected as a consequence."

The NHS Confederation, which represents local health boards in Wales, said the number of complaints received was less than 0.1% of all patients who had contact with the NHS, but it said it was not complacent.

People "do battle" with the NHS in Wales on behalf of vulnerable patients, says professor

Director Helen Birtwhistle said the NHS must listen, learn and take action when patients did not receive the high standards they deserved.

"To do this successfully, we must have a complaints system that is clear, consistent and easy to navigate," she said.

"We know from Keith Evans's review that further work is needed in this area and those in NHS Wales are committed to improving the way that they handle concerns and to see them as an opportunity to improve services."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Wales stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Prostitute in red light district in Seoul, South KoreaSex for soldiers

    How Korea helped prostitutes work near US military bases


  • LuckyDumped

    The rubbish collector left on the scrap heap as his city cleans up


  • A woman gets a Thanksgiving meal at a church in FergusonFamily fears

    Three generations in Ferguson share Thanksgiving reflections


  • Canada joins TwitterTweet North

    Canada's self-deprecating social media feed


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • IslandsUnmapped places

    Will the age-old quest to capture uncharted land and space ever end?

Programmes

  • All-inclusive holidaysThe Travel Show Watch

    With all-inclusive holidays seeing a resurgence are local trades missing out to big resorts?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.