The issue of patient care is never far from the headlines and this was illustrated by a report from Dr Foster, the healthcare information company, which contained worrying reports of wards “full to bursting” and dangerous overcrowding which puts patient safety at risk.
What are your options if you feel that the care you received whilst at hospital was not adequate?
It’s worth pointing out, however obvious it is, that they have had complaints before and will have systems in place to deal with them, whatever the nature of the complaint you may have. This is the case whether it relates to a doctor, nurse or some other health professional.
The health service has a constitution which sets out a patient’s rights when wishing to complain. It says that patients have the right to have the matter they are unhappy about fully investigated and they should also receive a quick reply. They will also find that most healthcare providers have their own complaints managers who will hear the matter confidentially. This therefore means the patient, who is unhappy with his or her treatment does not, at least in the initial stages, have to confront the person they consider responsible but can raise the matter with someone who has a degree of independence.
- 1. The complaint is made
So, the complaint should first be made, orally or in writing, to the NHS complaints manager with the process then seeing them receiving a prompt reply. If they feel this is not satisfactory and want to take the matter further they are able to do so by……
- 2. Contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
This is a free service which looks into complaints where patients feel they have not been well treated. If after the ombudsman’s ruling, the complainant still feels the matter has not been properly addressed then they do have a final option……
- 3. Taking the matter to a judicial review
However, this is fraught with difficulty and can be costly. Damages may be paid to the aggrieved party if the case does go down this route, but only if there is a recognised “private” law cause of action such as negligence.
Time limits – Those wanting to make a complaint should make it as soon as possible as there are time limits in place. They usually have 12 months from the date the event took place or 12 months from the date they first became aware of it.
Advice websites such as theclaimsconnection.co.uk will help answer any questions you may have regarding how to complain to the NHS.
CQC - Another option for those unhappy about their treatment and who want to raise concerns can do so through the Care Quality Commission which checks all hospitals in the country to ensure they are meeting national standards.