Wales politics

Wales NHS complaints handling review to 'take action'

Image caption The review will look at what is "working well and what needs to improve"

The NHS in Wales must "listen, learn and take action" when things go wrong, says Health Minister Mark Drakeford.

He has launched a 12-week review of the NHS complaints handling process to establish "what needs to improve".

It is being held as the current system, Putting Things Right, is almost three years old, the minister said.

Opposition politicians have welcomed the review which comes after criticisms that concerns of some patients and families are not being heard.

Mr Drakeford said: "The vast majority of people tell us they are happy with the care provided by the health service in Wales, and a positive experience is the norm.

"However, when things don't happen as they should, the NHS in Wales must listen, learn and take action."

'Very satisfied'

The Review of Concerns (Complaints) Handling within NHS Wales will be led by Keith Evans, the former boss of Panasonic UK and Ireland, and supported by Andrew Goodall, chief executive of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

It will:

  • Review the current process to determine what is working well and what needs to improve
  • Consider if there is sufficiently clear leadership, accountability and openness
  • Identify how the NHS in Wales can learn from other service industries
  • Identify how the NHS can demonstrate it is learning from patient feedback

Figures show complaints about the Welsh NHS to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales increased from 191 in 2006/7, when the office was created, to an estimated 680 for 2012/3.

Meanwhile, the National Survey for Wales, published in May 2013 found that 92% of people who saw a GP in the previous 12 months and 92% of people who had a hospital appointment in the same period were "fairly or very satisfied" with the care received.

Last week, Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd criticised the Welsh government for not answering her concerns about the standards of healthcare.

The MP was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron as an adviser on how NHS hospitals handle complaints in England last February.

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