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Make it easier for patients to complain

A 'single portal' as well-known as NHS Direct or the Samaritans is needed to make it easier for patients and health care staff to complain about a doctor, the inquiry found.

It said an advice service ­ likely to be offered online and through a telephone helpline ­ was needed to point complaints in the right direction and address patients' concerns.

The portal should forward complaints to the appropriate organisation if necessary, to overcome the 'confusion' over how to raise grievances.

The GMC, which suggested the service during the course of the inquiry, said it was striving to make procedures streamlined and transparent.

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