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NHS is told to improve hospital complaints system within a year

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6536 (Published 29 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6536
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

An independent review of the hospital complaints system in England has demanded urgent action within the next 12 months to improve the way in which patients’ complaints are handled, after a “decade of failure” to reform the process.1

The review was commissioned by the prime minister, David Cameron, and England’s health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, after Robert Francis’s report into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust concluded that problems there would have been spotted earlier if patients’ complaints had been listened to and acted on.

Francis emphasised that complaints were a warning sign of problems within hospitals. He called for a change in the NHS’s culture so that patients and staff did not fear raising issues about care and for the introduction of a duty of candour on health organisations and professionals to ensure that they were open and honest with patients and relatives when mistakes had been made.2

The final report of the review of the NHS hospitals complaints system, published …

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