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Handling, Investigating, Resolving and Learning from NHS Complaints

News and presentations from today’s conference attended by clinicians and managers in health and social care, and chaired by Dr Kieran Mullan Independent Advisor to the Clwyd Review of NHS Complaints & Past Project Director Complaints Improvement Programme at the Patients Association.

Lessons from complaints to the ombudsman and investigations
Dr Telal Mudawi, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, and Clinical Adviser in Cardiology, Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman

Dr Telal Mudawi loooked at NHS complaints with some insight. Complaints are generally a late sign of patients’ unhappiness and there are often many things that health professionals can and should do to reduce or even prevent complaints. Contrary to the commonly held belief, very few patients complain and most of them don’t seek financial compensation. The majority of complaints arise because of poor communication and a few because of perceived or actual poor care. 

In his presentation Dr Telal Mudawi discussed the current NHS complaint handling system and the latest relevant complaint statistical figures. He also discussed the main complaint-provoking factors and what complainants really want their complaints to achieve.

"Good and safe patient care directly stems from good clinical leadership that inspires a culture of openness and transparency." 

This, together with good clinical governance systems and effective communication skills are paramount pre-requisites for reducing and properly managing complaints. Regularly conducting patient satisfaction surveys can provide useful information as to why patients might feel unhappy with their care. Complaints should be viewed as an opportunity to identify shortcomings in the care that we provide to our patients so that deficiencies can be identified and rectified, thereby ultimately leading to care quality improvement. Such a reflective approach toward complaints is essential in driving the required change in culture and practice so that similar complaints can be avoided in the future.

Dr Telal Mudawi presentation looked into how to effectively manage complaints in a positive and constructive way that benefits the complainants, the NHS professionals and the public at large. Emphasis is put on what to do and what not do when managing a complaint, supported by real life examples.

Download Dr Mudawi’s full PowerPoint presentation.

Improving your local complaints process: Setting the standard for complaints handling in your service

Following the morning break Dr Kieran Mullan, Independent Advisor to the Clwyd review of NHS complaints and Past Project Director complaints improvement programme at Patients Association discussed complaints standards-how we developed them and what they are, self assessing your complaints process-using the standards in practice, improving your local complaints process-our experience and complaints from the perspective of junior staff.

Download Dr Kieran Mullan’s full PowerPoint presentation.


Engaging frontline clinicians in complaints and learning from complaints

Professor Tony Elliott, Clinical Director, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Mental Health Trust discussed engaging frontline clinicians in handling and responding to complaints, supporting and equipping frontline staff with the leadership tools they need to manage and try to resolve complaints and concerns in real time on the ward, managing complaints about staff, attitudes and communication and ensuring lessons are learned from complaints to improve practice.

Download Professor Tony Elliott’s full PowerPoint presentation.

Related events of interest:

Measuring, Understanding and Acting on Patient Experience Insight
Friday 29 January 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Root Cause Analysis: 2 Day Intensive Training Course
Tuesday 9 February — Wednesday 10 February 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Patient Safety, Incident Reporting, Investigation & Learning
Friday 11 March 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

7 December 2015


    Partner Organisations

    The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation TrustInPracticeClinical Audit Support CentrePlayoutJust For Nurses
    GGI (Good Governance Institute) accredited conferences CPD Member ASGBI (Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland) professional partner BADS (British Association of Day Surgery) accredited conferences