Patients are still bewildered by NHS complaints system, say experts

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 12 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h807
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Patients are still overwhelmed and often intimated by the prospect of making a complaint about NHS treatment, MPs have been told.

Experts representing patients and their families appeared before the parliamentary Public Administration Select Committee, describing the current NHS complaints system as “mind boggling” for the public and in need of extensive reform.

During an evidence session on 10 February for the committee’s inquiry into NHS complaints and clinical failure, MPs asked how effective the NHS was in its approach to investigating untoward medical incidents.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, giving evidence, said, “Patients and their relatives tell us that the complaints system is too bureaucratic, complex, confusing—and very often it adds to the pain and grief …

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