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MPs demand rethink of NHS complaints system

A group of senior MPs has called for the overhaul of the NHS complaints system, with potentially major implications for GPs.

A report published by the Health Committee suggests that the role of the Health Service Ombudsman needs a complete change and says that that commissioners, including GP commissioners, should be ‘the engines of a better complaints system'.

A contractual ‘duty of candour' by commissioners to their populations and to their local HealthWatch organisations is also called for by the report.

Committee chair Stephen Dorrell MP said: ‘We welcome the Government's commitment to introduce a duty of candour within the NHS.'

'We recommend that all providers of NHS care should in future owe a duty of candour to their commissioners under which they provide, among other things: timely reports, prepared to an agreed protocol, of all complaints made to them by NHS patients; in cases when complaints are upheld, complaints action plans to address the weaknesses which have been revealed; progress reports of the actions required under complaints action plans.'

‘We further recommend that commissioners should be under a duty of candour which requires them to publish this information on a regular basis'.