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Medicopolitical Digest

Most complaints are resolved locallyGPs' leader advises on pilot schemesShould health professions have one regulatory body?Dismantling of fundholding must preserve servicesNursing homes to be open to scrutiny

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 31 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:399

Most complaints are resolved locally

Two thirds of the complaints received about the NHS in England in 1996–7 were dealt with locally. The first report of the complaints since implementation of new procedures in April 1996 show that there were nearly 93 000 written complaints about hospital and community health services and nearly 37 000 about general medical and dental services.

The new system is simpler, with common features for handling complaints to hospitals, including cases involving clinical judgment, community health services, and family health services. The scheme allows for local resolution or, if the matter cannot be resolved, for an independent review.

Of the complaints about hospital and community health services, 67% were resolved locally within the performance target of four weeks; in 1.7% of the cases the complainant requested an independent review. There was just over one complaint per GP in England; and in 1040 cases the complainant asked for an independent review and 219 complaints were referred to an independent review panel.

The health …

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