The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has revealed that the most common reason that patients escalate NHS complaints is due to the lack of a proper apology from Trusts when things go wrong. It was named as the reason for 34 per cent of complaints investigated by the Ombudsman in 2014-15.
Patients escalate their complaints about NHS care to the Ombudsman when they are unhappy with a Trust’s investigation. It investigated 1,652 complaints last year compared to 852 in the year 2013-14.
The Francis Report, following the problems at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, recommended a culture of transparency in the NHS including a duty of candour, described as “the volunteering of all relevant information to persons who have or may have been harmed by the provision of services…” If this duty of candour is implemented as part of a culture change in the NHS then it is hoped that patients will not feel the need to escalate complaints to the Ombudsman in the future. However, a wholesale change to the culture of an organisation the size of the NHS is likely to be a long and difficult process.