There's a new report out from the Healthcare Commission into the handling of complaints by NHS trusts. You can read the summary here, and the full report here.
Points that jump out at me and tie in with my own experiences with BLPT include:
complaints about a lack of basic nursing care, poor communications, overly brisk GP consultations and a lack of help for mental health service users are among the key issues patients raise.
The Commission says that where it reviewed a complaint there were more cases where the trust’s response was not as accurate as it should be. Often, clinical advice found the care provided was not in line with established standards.
In almost one in 10 of the cases referred to us, the person making the complaint was simply seeking an apology.
good handling of complaints needs to involve more than an apology. It must also demonstrate to patients and to the public that improvements to services are being made as a result of their complaints.
Some people felt that the local investigation was not thorough or objective enough
The most common issue raised in the complaints that we reviewed about mental health services was the poor attitude of staff.
the patient not being given a copy of their care plan
Letters that confirmed the outcome of a complaint were often of poor quality, with the emphasis more on the process of the investigation rather than the outcome for the patient. We saw many letters where the trust did not use empathetic language when it was needed
The issue most frequently raised (24% of cases) by patients or their relatives was about safe and effective practice (see figure 2 opposite). This was usually when patients felt that something had gone wrong with the care and treatment that they received, and there was actual or potential risk of harm to the patient or others.
Well, at least it shows I am not alone in my experiences.