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Complaint system put on hold

The Government has delayed implementation of controversial changes to the NHS complaints system after a request from the Shipman Inquiry.

The inquiry asked for the delay to allow its report on the issue later this summer to be considered.

The GPC has branded the plans, which include allowing patients to complain directly to primary care trusts instead of practices and doubling the time to make a complaint to a year, as 'biased against doctors' and 'offensive' to the profession.

One of the key changes, passing the handling of the independent review panels stage to the Healthcare Commission, takes effect next month.

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