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Your complaints do make a difference

Concerned couple discussing issues with specialist
Interim Director of Insight

Complainants often tell us that they complain so that others don’t have to go through what they or their loved one went through.

Often this will mean complaining after someone has died. Complainants know it is too late to change what happened but they tell us they want people to learn from what went wrong. Sharing insight from our casework allows us to tell peoples’ stories so that the NHS understands the impact that failures have. It also helps families who have fought long and hard to get answers to know that their complaints have made a difference.

This was the case with the ten people who complained about the death of their loved ones from sepsis, commonly known as blood poisoning.

Our Time to Act report showed that people were dying because the NHS was failing to diagnose and rapidly treat sepsis.

The number one recommendation in that report was for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to produce guidance so that people could recognise severe sepsis at an early stage.

Last month NICE published this guidance, which calls for medics to treat suspected sepsis in the same way they would a suspected heart attack.

This was followed by the Department of Health committing to funding a campaign to raise awareness of sepsis, another recommendation in our 2013 report.

Those families’ resolve that lessons would be learnt has led to improvements across the whole of the NHS and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.