Call for a Health Service Ombudsman for England
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Since the demise of the Healthcare Commission in 2009 the PHSO is the second and final tier in the NHS complaint process. If the NHS trust has not given a satisfactory response, after the complaint process ends, the complainant can go to the Ombudsman free of charge.
The PHSO website explains: “Our role is to investigate complaints that individuals have been treated unfairly or have received poor service from government departments and other public organisations and the NHS in England”.
The parliamentary and health service ombudsman, Dame Julie Mellor, said this week that that NHS failures are putting patients at serious risk and placing a “massive cost” on the NHS for emergency readmissions. Unsafe discharges from hospital were one of the main areas of concern.
Volume of work growing: the Independent reports that the PHSO’s office investigated 2,199 cases in 2013/14, compared to 384 the previous year.
The latest publication summarises investigations into 126 complaints relating to healthcare and 35 relating to governance issues, carried out in the first three months of this financial year.
Publishing summaries of investigations carried out between April and June this year, Dame Julie added that early discharges and other major failings such as missed cancer diagnoses, were having a “devastating impact” on patients and their families.
The Socialist Health Association reports that in 2012 –13, of the 4,889 complaints submitted to the Ombudsman 3,914 (80%) were dismissed with no action taken. Only 384 (7.9%) were given the formal investigation headlined on the Ombudsman’s website. For 80% making a complaint had made no difference, as their complaint was ‘resolved’ without any direct action and no investigation.
This volume of work and the anxieties expressed support the call for a dedicated health ombudsman service.
Posted on November 1, 2014, in Civil servants, Democracy undermined, Health and tagged Dame Julie Mellor, health ombudsman, NHS, Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman., The National Health Action Party, The Socialist Health Association. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.