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NHS Complaints Summit 2019

Chairman: Mr Perbinder Grewal, Consultant Vascular Surgeon & Governance LeadChairman: Mr Perbinder Grewal, Consultant Vascular Surgeon & Governance Lead

News and presentations from todays NHS Complaints summit which opened with Lesley Bennett sharing her story of going through the complaints system and driving forward improvements in healthcare and maternity services. 

Getting it right first time – complaints leadership
Linda Tomlinson,
Liaison Manager, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Pre Event Abstract
In this presentation, Linda Tomlinson, one of the Ombudsman’s Liaison Managers, discusses the role of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), and shares good practice around listening to patient feedback and dealing with complaints at a local level. Linda initially explains how the PHSO works and makes decisions on the complaints it receives. She will then discuss some of the key things people want when making a complaint. Linda ends her presentation by talking through what the PHSO looks for in a good local complaint response, and what organisations and staff can do to get it right first time.

A key them of Linda's presentation was the importance of being open, honest and transparent and learning from investigations.  Linda also spoke about being sensitive to the fact it's not easy to complain, she said; “the NHS still cherished, takes a lot for people to complain – it’s important to remember that”.  Linda shared that the Ombudsman will start publishing all investigations on their website, and a new complaints standard framework is due out next year.
Full PowerPoint Presentation

Update from Michele Golden, Deputy Director of Safety and Learning, NHS Resolution.  Michele talked about the importance of being sorry. She said claims will still be paid and saying sorry is not admitting liability, it is important to show that you are saddened by what has happened; "It's powerful to say "i'm sorry" and powerful to hear".
Useful resource:

Supporting frontline clinicians to manage complaints and ensure change occurs
Mr Perbinder Grewal,
Consultant Vascular Surgeon & Governance Lead, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Perbinder is a human factors and patient safety trainer. He leads on medical education both locally and nationally. He is a Member of the Faculty of Surgical Trainers at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He has a passion for training and medical education. He is a Module Tutor for the ChM in Vascular Surgery for the University of Edinburgh and Tutor for the ChM in General Surgery for the past 5 years.
Full PowerPoint Presentation

Challenges and difficult issues in Complaints Handling & Dispute Resolution
Dr Gavin McBurnie,
Lecturer in Dispute Resolution & Programme Lead for Complaints, Queen Margaret University
Pre Event Abstract
This presentation opens with a consideration of the alleged complaints culture that affects the NHS and Gavin questions the validity of this accusation. Gavin then considers why people complain, what they want, and the biases that complainants bring with them when they complain. The presentation then changes focus on why complainants should trust complaint handlers before introducing justice theory as a way of considering how best to manage complaints. The presentation then moves onto consider the behaviours of complainants and looks at the causes and possible approaches to the management of unreasonable complaint conduct. The presentation finishes with a consideration of issues surrounding vulnerable complainants. Full references are provided in the slide deck for follow up by participants.
Full PowerPoint Presentation

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23 May 2019


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