Help shape the future of complaint handling: Share your views

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Today we are launching two public consultations. The first is on a new framework to promote consistent, high quality, complaint handling in the NHS. The second is on PHSO’s own Strategy for the next three years. Your views on both are important and welcome.

A new framework of best practice for NHS complaint handling

We see a lot of excellent complaint handling in the NHS, but standards are not consistent and too often we see poor practice. Our research has highlighted three areas that need to change:

  • There is no consistent way in which staff are expected to handle and resolve complaints.
  • Staff do not get consistent access to training to support them in their complex role - complaint handling should be recognised as a professional skill.
  • Public bodies too often see complaints negatively, not as a learning opportunity that can be used to improve their service.

We have worked with frontline NHS complaint handlers, NHS and social care regulators, advocacy groups and other organisations to share experiences and identify issues with the current state of complaint handling.

Together, we are proposing a framework of best practice that will bring consistency and raise standards, improving outcomes for the public and for staff. This is called the Complaint Standards Framework and we now want to hear your views on it.

Please take a few minutes to find out more about the Framework, complete our survey and help make complaints count. We plan to launch the framework in early 2021.

Our new Strategy

This new framework will lay important foundations for our future work at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Having delayed consulting due to the COVID-19 emergency, we feel the time is now right to seek your views on our priorities for the coming years.
Our new draft Strategy includes three objectives:

1.    Improving awareness of our service and access to justice.
2.    Delivering a transparent and rights-based service that is continuously improving to meet people’s needs.
3.    Embedding a culture of learning from mistakes to improve public services.

The coronavirus pandemic will continue to have profound consequences for public services and for the people who use them. Different priorities may emerge over time and we should stay responsive and flexible. For now, I believe these objectives have enduring relevance and value that will stand the test of these uncertain times.
You can read the draft Strategy in full and let us know what you think by completing our survey.

Consultation closing date

Both consultations close on 18 September 2020.