Complaints can identify problems and help to improve services for other people. But the health and social care system is not always good at listening. That's the lesson of Mid Staffordshire, Winterbourne View and Morecambe Bay. Report after report has found a systematic failture to listen to, and act upon, the concerns of patients, carers and families. These failures have resulted in neglect, poor quality care and even death.
The complaints system is too complex
People looking to complain about the service they or their families have received from their local hospital, GP or care home are also going unheard because the current system is simply too complex.
With so many organisations involved it’s difficult to know where to start, let alone having the strength and persistence to navigate the system on your own.
It's time to do things differently
For the health and care system to learn from its mistakes, the complaints system needs to be simplified. It also needs to be more joined up to ensure there is ‘no wrong door’ for people looking to raise a concern, and the right information and support needs to be made available for those who want to complain.
We are working to get the system to make these changes. However, we know that change takes time and there are people out there who need help now. That's why we've worked with Citizens Advice to produce a series of consumer guides to help people understand the current system and who they can contact, plus practical tools to make sure that the complaint is raised in a way that means it will be heard.