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Complaints Handling, Investigating, Resolving and Learning: News & Updates

The recent reports from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman quoted above highlight the importance of effective complaints investigation and ensuring the learning from complaints is embedded within the service.

Chaired by Lee Bennett Head of Patient Experience (Complaints, Quality Assurance and Staff) NHS England today’s conference will provide a practical guide to handling, investigating, responding and learning from complaints in health and social care.

Through national updates, practical case studies and in depth expert sessions the conference aims to improve the effectiveness of complaints handling within your service, and ensure that complaints lead to change and improvements in patient care.

Speaker Presentations and news:

Real time resolution of concerns and complaints at the point of service including social media

Paul Jebb Experience of Care Professional Lead Patient Experience Team NHS England

  • encouraging and responding to feedback, concerns and complaints in real time
  • complaints at the point of service: frontline resolution
  • embracing and encouraging feedback through social media including twitter
  • ensuring feedback leads to change

Paul Jebb’s Full Presentation Click Here

Paul Jebb’s Biography:

Paul qualified as a nurse in 1996 and worked in numerous posts within nursing, as well as a period in operational management, then in 2010 returned to nurse management as Assistant Director of Nursing & Head of Patient experience, then in October 2014, Paul undertook a secondment to the National Patient Experience team at NHS England as Experience of Care Professional Lead, leading on developing Always Events, aspects of the carers work stream and toolkit development to enhance experience of care

Paul has been involved and led on numerous quality improvement initiatives throughout his career, and has gained the extra mile award by the motor neurone disease Association, in 2012 Paul was winner of a national Patient Safety Award, and in 2014 Paul and his team won a national healthcare communications award for best engagement.

In April 2016 Paul became an International Fellow of the England Centre for Practice Development at the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Canterbury Christ Church University.

In February 2014 Paul was honoured to be offered an Honorary Senior Lectureship at the University of Central Lancashire.

Paul is also a member of an NMC Professional Standards advisory panel, which aims to give strategic direction to the NMC Executive team and to improve the dialogue between the NMC and leaders in the professions and to ensure expertise, is brought to bear on NMC work. Paul is also part of the strategic group to refresh the NMC Education Standards.

Paul has represented the Royal College of Nursing at local, regional, national and international levels, is a member of RCNi Editorial Advisory Board. Paul also judges several national nursing and health care awards.

Paul has also been the Assistant Chief Nurse (Head of Workforce) for St John Ambulance (England & the Islands), and has held other voluntary roles. In 2012 he was honoured with the award of ‘Officer of the Order of St John’.

Paul has developed his managerial skills and has completed an MA in Health Service Management. Paul also completed the Dept. of Health/RCN leadership Course for Nurses Working with Older People in 2005, and he was a Fellow of the NHS Institute Faculty of Improvement. And in 2016 completed the ‘Aspirant Executive Nurse Leaders’ sponsored by NHS Improvement at London South Bank University.

Lessons from complaints to the ombudsman and investigations

How do we quality assure the investigation of complaints and ensure change at a local level?

Dr Telal Mudawi Consultant Interventional Cardiologist Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Foundation Trust Clinical Adviser Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman, Manchester Office, UK

  • lessons from complaints to the ombudsman and investigations
  • how do we make it easier for people to complain?
  • outcomes and resolution of complaints: what do people want?
  • how do we quality assure investigation of complaints and ensure change happens as a result of complaints at a local level
  • national developments

Dr Telal Mudawi’s Full Presentation Click Here

Dr Telal Mudawi’s Presentation Absract:

Dr Telal Mudawi’s talk discusses the 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.

The talk discusses the current NHS complaint handling system and the latest relevant complaint statistical figures. It also discusses 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.

The talk also dwells 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.

Dr Telal Mudawi’s Biography:

Dr Mudawi is a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Foundation Trust. For three years, he has been the Trust’s Divisional Clinical Director for Medicine, in which role he oversaw the performance of seven Medical Departments (Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, Respiratory Medicine, Haematology, Microbiology and Palliative Care Medicine). Currently, he is the Lead for Clinical Governance for the Medical Division..

Dr Mudawi is also an Associate Clinical Adviser in Cardiology for the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman

Through his above clinical, managerial and advisory roles, Dr Mudawi has developed interest and experience in managing NHS complaints. He has advised on or supervised the management of hundreds of complaints, both locally and nationally.

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

Dr Kieran Mullan Independent Advisor to the Clwyd Review of NHS Complaints Past Project Director, Complaints Improvement Programme Patients Association

  • complaints standards-how we developed them and what they are
  • self assessing your complaints process-using the standards in practice
  • formal v informal complaints
  • improving your local complaints process-our experience
  • complaints from the perspective of junior staff

Dr Mullan comments:

Common pitfalls - Generally speaking, in my experience poor responses are usually poor because there hasn’t been sufficient investigation and the person writing the letter is trying to make something out of not enough. If you have investigated in the proper way your letter will naturally lay out what you’ve done, what you’ve found and what you’ve concluded. If you haven’t spoken to the right people, got the right opinions, check the right facts then you will struggle to write back a good letter.”

Good Practice - In my experience, where resources allow, an initial phone call is hugely helpful. A letter/email is one thing, but when you talk to someone it helps you to understand what they are most/really concerned about and so you have a better chance of responding positively.”

“I generally prefer independent separate investigators. It is how it is done in social services, it lends itself to a greater degree of independence, better documentation/written reports and reduced likelihood of complaints work getting thrown out the door the second operational pressures go up.” “Don’t just get your Clinical Directors to sign off complaint letters ok/not ok. Use proformas that get them to highlight the key issues/reasons why they are satisfied with the response.”

“As we use best practice guidelines more and more why not make reference to them so that when you are explaining care was good you can do so with authority/credibility. It can also help complaints teams dealing with difficult clinicians-ask them to make reference to best practice if you feel they arent giving you robust responses when enquiring about care issues.”

Dr Kieran Mullan’s Full Presentation Click Here

Dr Kieran Mullan’s Biography:

Dr Kieran Mullan developed and led the Health Foundation funded Speaking Up complaints improvement project for two years whilst working at the Patients Association. He has combined his work in health policy campagining and service improvement with continuing his training as a junior doctor. He served as the Patients Association representative to the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry and has developed and led high profile national campaigns on healthcare issues. He has given evidence to the Health Select Committee and served as an independent advisor to the Clwyd/Hart Review of NHS complaints handling. More recently he has founded his own social enterpise ( and continues to working as an A&E doctor.

Future events of interest:

Masterclass: Complaints Handling & Response Letters
Wednesday 8 February 2017
Doubletree, Hilton London, West End, London

Investigation of Deaths & Serious Incidents in Mental Health Services
Friday 10 February 2017
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Learning from Serious Incidents: Implementing the CQC Recommendations
Thursday 23 February 2017
The Studio Conference Centre, Birmingham

Measuring & Monitoring Patient Safety: Patient Safety Surveillance in Real Time
Friday 10 March 2017
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

2 December 2016


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