Healthwatch Islington was approached by Islington Clinical Commissioning Group to carry out some work on local complaints processes. This included mapping the existing ways in which patients can complain. We were also asked to gather the views and experiences of local people who had made or tried to make a complaint to find out what worked well about local processes and what could be improved.
Our right to complain and what we can expect:
The NHS Constitution sets out a series of rights and pledges in relation to our NHS treatment and care. It states that the NHS ‘encourages and welcomes feedback from families, carers, staff and the public. We use this to improve the care we provide and build on our successes’. The constitution then sets out some basic rights which include the right to an acknowledgement within three working days and to have complaints ‘properly investigated’, the right to discuss how the complaint will be handled and how long this is likely to take and the right to be kept informed of progress and outcomes, with explanations if requested.
In addition, the constitution sets out a pledge to ensure that raising a complaint does not put us at a disadvantage and that responses to complaints be delivered sensitively and with an apology as well as ensuring that lessons will be learned from complaints in order to improve services. We have used these rights to inform our survey.
As the report was commissioned by Islington Clinical Commissioning Group, the recommendations set out are directed at them. However, during the course of the work Healthwatch Islington also saw areas that providers could improve. We have compiled a list of suggestions for providers on page 23 of this report, which Islington Clinical Commissioning Group and Healthwatch Islington will aim to take forward.