Effective complaints handling

All feedback from patients should make a difference, whether these are concerns voiced on the ward at the time, or complaints made once home.

If it is not possible to resolve a concern on the ward, patients must feel able to complain about their care in a way that feels fair, open, and respectful of the emotional and physical pain they have suffered.

This means having clear, simple information about the complaints process available to them, and advice and support if they need it.

Most importantly, it means feeling that the hospital takes them seriously and that lessons will be learned from their experience.

Locally and nationally, in line with what has been said in Rt Hon Ann Clwyd MP and Professor Tricia Hart’s ‘Review of the Handling of Complaints in NHS Hospitals’, and in the Francis Inquiry, the Department of Health wants to ensure that:

  • all forms of feedback help to improve care for patients

  • when things do go wrong, the complaints system is clear, fair, and open

  • at every level, the NHS scrutinises and learns from mistakes to improve care for patients