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GPs confused over new procedures for NHS complaints

By Nigel Praities

A Government scheme intended to make GPs respond more quickly to patient complaints has led to huge confusion and extra workload, according to a medical defence body.

The Medical Defence Union has had hundreds more calls than usual from GPs asking for advice or assistance since the system was revamped in April.

It revealed widespread confusion among GPs as the Department of Health was forced to defend the new procedures, after the Commons health committee expressed doubts that the 'protracted series of changes' would be effective.

The old three-stage NHS complaints system has been simplified as there are now only two stages - local resolution or referral to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

The changes were intended to lead to more cases being resolved by GP practices.

Dr Matthew Lee, MDU director of professional services, said he thought members were seeking advice more 'as they are less familiar with the new system.'

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