Complaints and Litigation

HC 786-I, Sixth Report of Session 2010-12 - Volume I: Report, Together with Formal Minutes

House of Commons - Health Committee
TSO (The Stationery Office)
Complaints and Litigation - Front
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'Complaints and Litigation (HC 786-I)' details the Health Committee's belief that the role of the Health Service Ombudsman needs a complete overhaul if it is to provide an effective appeals process for the complaints system.

The Ombudsman's current terms of reference prevent her from launching a formal investigation unless she is satisfied in advance that there will be a 'worthwhile outcome'. This requirement represents a significant obstacle to the successful operation of the complaints system.

Another key finding is that there continues to be unacceptably wide variation in operation of complaints procedures within the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS still has no national protocol for the classification and reporting of complaints, and reporting by Foundation Trusts remains voluntary.

NHS culture is too often defensive and the service remains to be persuaded to adopt a more open culture. All providers of NHS care should in future owe a duty of candour to their commissioners under which they provide:

  • timely reports, prepared to an agreed protocol, of all complaints made to them by NHS patients;

  • in cases when complaints are upheld, Complaints Action Plans to address the weaknesses which have been revealed; and

  • progress reports of the actions required under the Plans.

The inquiry also examined the arrangements under which the NHS handles litigation by patients, concluding that the existing clinical negligence framework (based on qualifying liability in tort) offers patients the best approach. It does not support a switch to no-fault compensation.

The committee also recommends that Ministers should review the regulatory framework that governs the activities of claims management companies.

Extent 59 pages ISBN 9780215560285
Size A4 Price £13.50
Format Paperback Published 28 Jun 2011
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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