Date Published: 28 October 2013

Nurses view about the recent review of complaints about NHS (UK)

UK nurses care about the experiences of patients and their families or carers.

Today there has been considerable UK news coverage and discussion about the recent review into NHS complaints. A copy of the report can be downloaded free of charge from the UK government website. (Link: http://bit.ly/1hnifIr)*

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) issued comments about the review of NHS hospitals complaints handling systems. The Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, Dr Peter Carter, said:

" When things go wrong in the NHS it can have a traumatic impact on patients and their families during an already difficult time. This is why it is so important that patients and their relatives feel confident that if something goes wrong there is an open and robust system to hear their concerns, apologise and always learn from mistakes.
_ It is clear that the culture in a hospital or trust has a real impact on the quality of patient care. This report makes it clear that managers have a responsibility to show leadership in creating an environment where complaints are regarded as a valuable tool to address poor practice and make changes. There is also an important role to be played by Directors of Nursing, who can ensure that a 'ward to board' approach is taken, with senior managers leading by example.
_ The RCN welcomes the opportunity to help promote a more open, accessible and timely feedback system by pledging to produce guidance for nursing staff to help them deal with complaints sensitively and thoroughly.
_ One instance of poor care is one instance too many, and everyone in the health service from the highest levels of management to frontline staff must now act on this report to create a culture where staff, patients and relatives do not feel helpless when things go wrong
."

Patients may feel reassured to know that the UK nursing profession supports efforts to improve not only patient care, but also overall patient experience - even when something has not gone exactly to plan or has otherwise resulted in unwanted outcomes leading to complaints. Considering the huge size of the NHS and the wide variety of services it provides, it seems inevitable that some problems may arise from time to time, hence an effective caring system for dealing with such situations is important.

* The full link the download the report "A Review of the NHS Hospitals Complaints System Putting Patients Back in the Picture", Final report by the Right Honourable Ann Clwyd MP and Professor Tricia Hart is https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/253320/complaints_review_report.pdf.

Source: Royal College of Nursing (RCN), UK.
For more information see http://www.rcn.org.uk.

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