Helping more people by investigating more complaints about the NHS. September 2013

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1 Helping more people by investigating more complaints about the NHS September 2013

2 Helping more people by investigating more NHS complaints In We resolved 15,944 enquiries about the NHS 12,175 3,770 3, We took on for investigation We gave advice and support on where or how to complain We took a close look at the case to understand what may have happened and decide the best way of trying to resolve it Of that 3770, in 3021 cases after looking closely, we concluded there was no action for us to take as there was no case to answer, or the case had already been resolved or an investigation could not achieve anything more for the complainant We resolved the case by intervening, without the need for a formal investigation

3 From 1 April 2013 we significantly changed the way we work so that we would investigate many more cases. The early signs are that we are heading in the right direction. In Quarter (April, May, June) We resolved 4,400 enquiries about the NHS 2,800 1,600 1, We took on for investigation We gave advice and support on where or how to complain We took a close look at the case to understand what may have happened and decide the best way of trying to resolve it Of that 1600, in 1050 cases we were able to negotiate a resolution, or after a detailed examination, it was clear there was no action we could take as there was no case to answer, or the case had already been resolved

4 Providing an excellent service for our customers Our rolling customer satisfaction survey in shows: 73% 92% 73% of customers whose complaints we examined in detail were satisfied with our service 92% of customers whose complaints we investigated were satisfied with our service (up 7%) The reasons given by customers for their satisfaction were: Good information, advice and communication Being kept informed Interested, sympathetic and professional staff Friends and family test 74% 85% 74% of customers whose complaints we examined in detail say they would recommend us to their friends and family 85% of customer whose complaints we investigated say they would recommend us to their friends and family. This compares with 72% who would recommend the FInancial Ombudsman Service

5 How we performed against our customer service standards in we acknowledged 100% of enquiries within one working day we acknowledged 100% of written enquiries within two working days we closed 86% of enquiries within 40 working days, against our target of 90% we concluded 91% of investigations within 12 months, against our target of 90% we acknowledged 95% of complaints about us within five working days we resolved 90% of complaints about us within 16 weeks Responding to feedback from complainants and from Parliament that, at times, our work had not made the difference that it should, we commissioned a review by Baroness Fritchie to look at some of the most serious complaints that we receive - that someone s death could have been avoided if NHS care or treatment had been better. We accepted the recommendations of this review, and as a result we now begin our consideration of any complaint about a potentially avoidable death with the presumption that it will be investigated.

6 Working with others and using what we learn to help them make public services better In we shared findings from our investigations to help public services improve. Since the start of 2013 we ve kept to our commitment to publish more information about our investigations. Since April we have published three detailed health investigation reports. Two of these tell the upsetting and distressing stories of people with severe learning disabilities who were failed by public services. The Government have now published their response to our 2009 Six Lives report. The Department of Health s response identifies several areas of good progress made since our report was issued but, as our latest investigations clearly show, there is still plenty more to do in these areas.

7 Leading the way to make the complaints system better In we worked with a variety of organisations to make sure that good complaint handling becomes part of the new NHS landscape and our work in this area has continued into Between April and August 2013 we have published three major pieces of research into NHS hospital complaints. The first used analysis from our cases to show patterns of where and how things go wrong. The second looked at the role of leadership and governance in hospital complaints. The third piece of research was a unique collaboration between patients, staff & clinicians working together to design what a good complaints system should look like. Together these pieces of research offer our perspective on what is wrong with the hospital complaints system, but more importantly what can be done to improve it. We have contributed this research to the review of NHS hospital complaint handling being carried out by Professor Tricia Hart and Ann Clwyd MP. We also provided evidence to Professor Sir Bruce Keogh s review of the quality of care and treatment provided by those NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts that are persistent outliers on mortality indicators. We provided information on: numbers and types of complaints; how trusts compared in the broader picture of complaints made to us; the outcomes of investigations; remedies and compliance. We were also able to suggest areas that the investigation teams should consider as part of the individual reviews. These included: specific issues identified for each trust; the services that were investigated; the implementation of action plans; and trusts arrangements for complaint handling. In his Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions Professor Sir Bruce Keogh recommended that our jurisdiction is extended to cover private healthcare. Private healthcare, including cosmetic interventions, can have a major impact on people s lives when things go wrong. There are ombudsman services covering financial services and legal services, but patients have no access to an independent and impartial decision on complaints about private healthcare. We agree that this gap should be filled and welcome the recommendation that the government should consider extending our role.

8 Making sure our organisation works well Recognising the need for all public bodies to work with even greater efficiency in a time of austerity, in we delivered over 600,000 of savings within our existing budget through reviewing procurement contracts, travel costs and our use of office accommodation Our sanctioned funding for provides for 33.1 million of resource plus 0.7m capital. This represents a reduction of 4.2% in real terms against current Baselines. We are delivering a change programme that will further build our capacity to deliver more investigations. It will also improve the way we collect and analyse information from complaints, improve our technology so complaints can be made online and continue to improve our administration so that we deliver more efficiently In addition, as part of this latest settlement we have agreed to reduce the sanctioned funding provided in respect of by 0.4 million, a real terms reduction of 2.2%. This was our positive response to the Chancellor s request that we consider reductions in line with funding cuts in the wider public sector of 2% in real terms for that year.

9 If you would like this document in a different format, such as DAISY or large print, please contact us. Telephone: Textphone: Fax: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Millbank Tower Millbank London SW1P 4QP Follow us on:

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