CQC reflects on complaints

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards, has reflected on complaints within the health and adult social care sector following the launch of a new campaign by Which? to make complaints count in public services. Which? report that its findings indicate that many people do not complain when they experience problems, and those who do aren’t always satisfied with the result.

Its research found that a third of people who have experienced a problem with public services in the past year didn’t complain, with reasons being not knowing who to complain to (35%) and thinking that it would not be worth the effort (39%). It further found that 39% weren’t satisfied with the outcome of their complaint and almost half felt like their complaint was ignored. Many of those surveyed also revealed that they did not know who to go to if they wished to make a complaint or had not heard of the relevant public services ombudsman.

Prof Sir Mike Richards, said “The findings from Which? mirror our own recent investigation of the complaints system across health and adult social care in England. We found huge variation where people who might raise concerns about NHS, primary care and adult social care services were often met with a defensive culture, rather than one that listens and is willing to learn.

“A service that is safe, responsive and well-led will treat each concern as an opportunity to improve, will encourage its staff to raise concerns without fear of any consequences and will respond openly and honestly to complaints. Our evidence suggests that services are not quite there yet, so more needs to be done to inspire an open culture in health and adult social care where concerns are welcomed and acted upon.

“We consider various information; including the number of complaints to help us decide when and where to inspect. Serious concerns raised to us can lead to unannounced inspections.

“We have a role in supporting this change through our inspections. We will continue to hold health and adult social care services to high standards that people both expect and deserve.”

The ‘Make complaints count’ campaign by Which? is calling on the Government to pledge to be the champion of patients, parents and all users of public services by committing to giving people:

A role in triggering inspections by regulators through their complaints
A unified public services ombudsman which can swiftly deal with their unresolved complaints
A voice by allowing representative groups to make super-complaints in our public services, as they do in private markets

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