The Francis report notes how the Patients Association (PA) had been working on a project around complaints handling.

This is the link to their Staffordshire complaints project.

They have published a report entitled Complaints Handling in NHS Trusts signed up to the CARE campaign.

The research sought to evaluate trusts’ publicly available information with regard to complaints and to assess its availability, precision, quality and volume. The research considered a sample of 20 randomly selected trusts out of the pool of CARE campaign sign-up trusts.

This was a desk based exercise based on ten criteria indicating best practice with regard to the management of complaints.

The findings include:

  • Patients are generally unaware of their rights under the NHS Constitution
  • There has been an 8.3 per cent rise in written complaints
  • The Ombudsman has registered an 8 per cent year-on-year increase with 50 per cent more complaints about the NHS not acknowledging mistakes in care, 42 per cent more complaints about inadequate remedies and 13 per cent more complaints about poor explanations

For those interested in the detail of the research, the discussion section is at pages 22 - 39 and the detail relating to each trust is at pages 40 - 76.

There are 12 recommendations set out at pages 38 and 39.

Whilst they found many excellent examples of compliance, they were disappointed at the variation in the quality of complaints management arrangements; difficulty finding complaint related information for some of the trusts as well as examples of a lack of specific complaint related training for staff.