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Complaint handling report

The Health Service Ombudsman has published a review of complaint handling by the NHS in England 2010-11.

‘Patchy and slow' is how the Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, describes the progress the NHS is making to improve the way it deals with patients' complaints. In her latest report on NHS performance she warns that ‘the NHS is still not dealing adequately with the most straightforward matters' and that too many minor disputes are escalated to her Office before they are resolved.

Published today, Listening and Learning: the Ombudsman's review of complaint handling by the NHS in England 2010-11 features previously unpublished information about complaints that the NHS has failed to resolve locally.

In particular, the Ombudsman highlights an increased number of complaints about the removal of patients from their GP practice's list, sometimes without warning.

Last year, 21% of all complaints about GPs investigated by the Ombudsman were about patient removals, a rise of 6 per cent compared to the previous year.

In one case, a terminally ill woman was removed from her GP's list following a dispute between the practice and her daughter. In another case, a woman was removed from her GP's list after a ‘simple disagreement' about unanswered telephone calls.

 As GPs prepare to take on greater responsibility for commissioning patient services, the report warns that some are failing to handle even the most basic complaints appropriately.

Click here to download the report.