News: The quality of GP practice complaint handling across England appears mixed and highly variable

The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) stated in a report (March 2016) about complaint handling, that on the one hand, they were reassured to find that over half (55%) of the 137 cases looked at were outstanding (9%) or good (46%) they remained concerned about the 45% who are not handling complaints well. – Dame Julie Mellor DBE Chair and Ombudsman, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman March 2016

We are all so lucky to have the NHS and the tremendous doctors, nurses, and all those who make it possible. Through our life time, you may see a cardiologist, I may need to see an Oncologist, your child may need a Paediatrician, and my mum may need a Geriatrician. What is certain though, we will all need need a GP. We will all need them to reassure us, to understand us, to diagnose in a small amount of time why we are there. To often understand complex family situations that are permeating into our physical and psychological well being, I know my GP has had to do that with me. Losing a child and the complex aftermath that saturated my entire life and that of my family  was no easy task. One though, I am grateful to say, was managed.

This is not always the case and not always through anyone’s fault but by a lack of understanding, work stress, organisational culture, lack of appropriate training that gets to the core of a complaint…the human person. That’s right…not the process, not the policy, but the person. When things go wrong, patients and loved ones complain and conflict escalates as both parties consciously and unconsciously endeavour to get the other to see their world. They are requiring empathy for what they are or have gone through.This report from the Health Ombudsman draws attention to difficulties highlighted and training recommendations as a need from both their perspective and from practice staff to help them understand complaints better.

Areas where improvement was most needed overall were the latter stages of the journey; practices were weakest at making sure that complaints resulted in the right outcome for people and that they had learned from the complaints. The tone of the response and providing an adequate explanation were assessed as being clear areas for improvement.

Higher levels of inadequate complaint handling were apparent when it came to acknowledging mistakes, preventing the same thing happening again, acting in line with guidance when giving a response and giving an appropriate apology. This may make individuals feel less confident to complain again.” Dame Julie Mellor, Parliamentary Health Ombudsman

The report went on to highlight 5 key points to be addressed and recommendations:

Report Recommendations:  Education and training

The PHSO heard that practice staff would welcome education and training to help them understand how to deal with feedback, concerns and complaints more effectively. In addition to work being led by NHS England to ensure primary care complaint handlers have access to high quality and relevant training, we consider the GMC’s current consultation to be important.

Original report source:

Relevant Training Courses:

Using Empathy to Help Resolve Complaints

Delegate feedback comments
“This will be relevant to those investigating complaints /directly involved in complaints”
“Amazing. Loved it, a fascinating insight. Would highly recommend”

Courses running on:

26 May 2016 – MILTON KEYNES

20 June 2016 – STEVENAGE

23 June 2016 – SHEFFIELD

12 July 2016 – BOURNEMOUTH





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