NHS Complaint Standards: Summary of expectations

Benefits of the Complaint Standards 

The Complaint Standards set out a single vision for staff and NHS service users (and the people who support them) of what is expected when a complaint is raised. This will help make sure everyone experiences a culture that seeks out learning from complaints, and meets the outcomes set out in My Expectations.

The Standards are the first step towards recognising complaint handling as a professional skill. They will set a clear path for all services to harness the rich learning that comes from feedback and complaints to help improve services for the benefit of all.

By adopting the Standards, NHS staff will be able to address and resolve more complaints at the earliest opportunity, which will benefit everyone involved. The Standards will help make sure that staff take learning forward to improve services for future users.

Earlier resolution of complaints will also reduce the possibility of complaints becoming legal claims or being referred to the Ombudsman. This can save financial and emotional costs for everyone.

The Complaint Standards will promote better accountability and openness through a just and learning culture, and better communication between providers and the public, leading to improvements in services.

They will guide organisations of all sizes so they can put the right structures and systems in place to capture and examine learning, and gain true insight into how people experience their services.

The Complaint Standards, combined with training and further guidance, will see more organisations following similar processes across the country. This will lead to a better, more consistent approach to complaint handling across organisations delivering NHS services. It will also result in more effective reporting and learning from complaints.