Confused by the NHS Complaints Procedure? You’re Not Alone

Author:
Jodie Cook
Senior Associate, Medical Negligence Lawyer
Date:
06/12/2019

A report by NHS Resolution suggests many patients are unhappy with the NHS complaints process and don’t fully understand how it works, as they don’t receive the resolution they are seeking.

If you contact our Medical Negligence Solicitors for a free consultation, we can guide you through the NHS complaints procedure and review the outcome if already made.

For free legal advice get in touch with our Medical Negligence Solicitors and ask if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

‘Impersonal’ NHS Complaints Process

Complaining through the NHS complaints procedure can be a helpful way to get more information about what had happened. This may resolve your concerns, however, in most cases the NHS do not always resolve the issue or admit to their mistakes.

Our Medical Negligence Solicitors can advise you whether or not it’s appropriate to lodge a complaint or make a claim for compensation as there are strict time limits to lodge a claim.

It’s therefore a vital part of the mechanism for patients who believe the care they received was substandard.

According to the NHS Resolution study, just 28% of people who have made medical negligence claims knew how to make an official complaint to the NHS. This lack of awareness is compounded by the fact that many of those who did complain weren’t happy with how their complaints were handled.

An opaque and impersonal complaints process was flagged up by a number of patients, with some saying it lacked compassion. Many lacked the confidence that their complaints would result in any meaningful outcomes.

Poor communication was another frequent issue. Indeed, some patients said long periods of time would pass without them getting any updates about the progress of their complaints, an official response or any possible resolution.

Patients revealed they therefore had to contact their NHS provider and would continue to chase, however, even then were not always successful in getting the information they wanted.

NHS Use Too Much Jargon

Another common grievance among patients who had complained to the NHS was the use of jargon. The NHS Resolution report branded much of the communications people received from their healthcare provider as “incomprehensible to lay people”, as it was full of specialist terminology and abbreviations. We can help here as our Medical Negligence Solicitors know how to explain things without the jargon.

Most Medical Negligence Victims Not Taking Legal Action

According to the study, most of those patients who experience a medical negligence incident, and may possibly have had their complaints to the NHS badly handled, don’t actually go on to make a medical negligence claim. An estimated 89.3% of people who experience substandard treatment by the NHS don’t actually decide to take legal action, NHS Resolution believes.

This clearly highlights just why it’s so important to have an experienced Medical Negligence Solicitor guiding you through the NHS complaints process.

Any patient who is unhappy with the treatment they receive by the NHS is entitled to complain and have their grievance investigated. We therefore recommend getting in touch with our expert Medical Negligence Solicitors.

According to guidelines from the Department of Health, people can also escalate the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), if they feel the matter has not been resolved. For more information see Complaints about NHS Hospital Medical Negligence Investigations.

However, the PHSO would only investigate the matter if the complaints process has been exhausted and if the patient believes there has been some form of maladministration with the process. If the PHSO doesn’t overturn the outcome of your complaint, then you could possibly make a claim for judicial review and receive compensation.

A Medical Negligence Solicitor can help you throughout the entire NHS complaints process, fighting your corner and ensure you don’t get tripped up by confusing language or procedures at any stage, so you get the justice you deserve.

At Simpson Millar, we pride ourselves on speaking to clients in an open, straightforward way, so you’re never left unsure of what’s going on with your claim.

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