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NHS complaints review

15 May 2013
This briefing provides an overview to the review of the NHS complaints system in England being undertaken, following the publication of the Francis Report and in response to the publicised experiences of Ann Clwyd MP during her husband’s final days as a patient at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff in October 2012. 

The review of complaints handling in and across the NHS comes at a time when patient experience is forming an increasingly important role in how healthcare providers and commissioners work, and in how money moves around the health system.

The lack of responsiveness to the complaints made by patients and relatives forms an important part of Robert Francis' analysis of the failings at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust, and there are 13 recommendations in his report that relate directly to complaints and their handling.

The problems identified at Mid-Staffs were brought into sharp focus in December 2012, when Ann Clwyd MP gave an interview to the BBC's 1 o'clock news programme, following an intervention in the House of Commons where she had spoken at length and in detail about the 'poor, cold and indifferent care' that she and her husband received as he was dying in hospital.

Although separate, the review is taking place concurrently with a review being undertaken by the Office of the Health Ombudsman of its own services.

If you have any comments or wish to contribute further, please email policy.international@rcn.org.uk

Page last updated - 23/03/2017