Focus: Westminster: The ombudsman hits out

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 16 July 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:150
  1. J Warden

    Eighteen months ago I reported that the NHS ombudsman was on the warpath. Last week he struck with telling effect in a report which surprised the health service with its ferocity. Within hours it had the prime minister floundering in the Commons. Headlines depicted a health service in shambles. The notion that complaints are “jewels to be treasured” rather than duels to be fought has still some way to go. Few health professionals could have read even the press summaries without feeling the sense of shame which the ombudsman justifiably places on the managers, doctors, and nurses responsible. He records lapses in basic care, often for the dying, which though not deliberate are no less callous. “Some health professionals would do well to put themselves in the position of a patient, or their relatives, and consider how they would like to be treated,” the ombudsman states.

    Complaints to the ombudsman have been called the grumbling …

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