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Failure to learn from hospital complaints.

A report by the Patients Association has accused some hospitals of dangerous complacency in failing to implement positive changes to their complaints procedures.

The patient group unveiled research that showed hospitals are failing to do  enough to help patients raise their concerns, nor do they see complaints as an opportunity to improve.

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association stated “The Patients Association has identified key challenges for the NHS as the on going flaws in the current system are revealed. We raise these examples not to criticise without solution but to highlight the very real need for robust measures to ensure that any changes proposed by the Francis inquiry are implemented in the years to come.” 

The report comes just over a week before the report of the public inquiry into the failings of Stafford hospital. The report is expected to put an emphasis on the hospital's failure to respond to and improve upon complaints received.

The report published by the Patients Association titled Listening and Learning, investigated how well 20 hospital trusts were making information about their complaints procedure available and how comprehensive the information was.

It found that only ten hospital trusts had a policy for managing complaints available on their website, four had a policy that was not listed on their website. Six hospital trusts appeared to have no policy in place at all.

Perhaps most worryingly, the Patients Association stated that five hospital trusts out of twenty were “insufficiently developed” to enable them to learn from complaints received.  

Katherine Murphy added “A complaints system enables organisations to learn from their mistakes. This should be the case with complaints throughout the NHS. Complaints about poor NHS care are rising. They need to be taken much more seriously by many hospitals to stop the same problems recurring constantly”.