Making complaints - comments wanted

Discussion in 'Dementia-related news and campaigns' started by Louise Lakey, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. Louise Lakey

    Louise Lakey Registered User

    Apr 19, 2007
    Dear all,

    I am a policy officer here at the Society’s national office and I’d really like your help with a Department of Health consultation on making complaints and how these complaints are responded to.

    We feel that an understanding of people’s experiences of and feelings about making a complaint would be very helpful when we respond to the consultation. For example:

    · Your experience of making a complaint and the process you had to go through
    · Whether the outcome of the complaint was satisfactory
    · How you felt about making a complaint (and how you were made to feel)
    · Whether you have ever wanted to complain but haven’t
    · What you think should be changed/improved in a new complaints system

    In general, the Department of Health feel that the key points of a new complaints arrangement should be:

    · A single system unified across health and social care
    · An emphasis on providing support to those who find it difficult to make their voice heard.
    · A quick and effective resolution, with a more personal and flexible approach
    · A culture of openness and fairness, with a willingness to listen and apologise
    · Complaints dealt with at a local level, with emphasis on people being able to talk to the people responsible for delivering and/or commissioning services
    · A demonstrable change in the quality of services as a result of complaints
    · People to decide whether to make a complaint to the provider of a service or the commissioner of the service, so that they are not fearful of complaining.

    If anyone has any comments or experiences that they would like to share, then I would love to hear from you. You can respond on Talking Point, either to this thread or to my private inbox. Alternatively you can email me at or telephone me on 020 7306 0606 (and ask for Louise Lakey).

    Many thanks for all your help. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Kind regards, Louise
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    #2 jenniferpa, Aug 29, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2007
    Louise I'm not sure if this relevant, but here goes. I didn't make a formal complaint to the NHS hospital my mother was in for one primary reason: in order to make the complaint I had to have permission from my mother to make the complaint! Now I understand there are data protection issues here, but the implication of the documents regarding complaints that I obtained from the PCT in question "seemed" to make it quite clear that any complaint that wasn't accompanied by a permission slip (or followed up with one) was going nowhere. It seemed so pointless and difficult that I didn't take it further, which I got the feeling was the idea. I'm reasonably articulate, and if I found it difficult, one wonders how anyone complains. Also, most of the complaints weren't major, but because there were so many of them, it seemed clear that in that specific hospital the culture was to let the small things slide, and to avoid getting into discussions about things that could be done better.

    Personally, the thing that would have made me feel better is if someone, anyone, had given me a customer service satisfaction survey at the end of my mother's stays. Nothing that happened to her was of the "heads must roll" category, yet I am certain that this sort of survey would highlight areas that could be improved, without pointing fingers.

    The other problem I found, is that since so many of my issues related to the day to day care, that in many cases they would more appropriately be bought to the attention of the ward staff. However, there was no one "on point" and I never was able to find out who was the person who was ultimately responsible for my mother's care. This was in direct contravention of their published service aims, but that was the beauty of it: you should complain in the first case to the person responsible for the patient, but you can't find out who it is, because no one has been assigned, so you can't complain to them that no one has been assigned. Nicely circular.

    P.S. I did find when looking around the internet that some hospitals seemed to have much easier to use complaints systems. I REALLY believe that there should be one easy to use, fill in the name of the hospital here, type of form.
  3. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    Hello Louise, can you confirm that you only want to hear about complaints against statutory services, i.e NHS or Social Services, or about services that have been commissioned through them? Or does the brief include care and nursing homes where the services are provided by private organisations and are not funded by SS or NHS? What about nursing homes which are private but where the resident's care is part-funded by the NHS? Sorry to be pedantic.
  4. Louise Lakey

    Louise Lakey Registered User

    Apr 19, 2007
    Hello Deborah,

    Thank you for your message. You are not being pedantic at all - that's a very good question. I would certainly like to hear about both the situations you mention. The complaints consulation covers all health and social care, so includes care homes and independent/private providers. It is looking at any kind of service no matter who it is provided by, which provides a great chance for us to comment and share experiences. I'm very much looking forward to your comments.

    Thank you for your interest, Louise
  5. Louise Lakey

    Louise Lakey Registered User

    Apr 19, 2007
    Hello Jennifer,
    Thank you so much for your comments. They are directly relevant and highlight a number of things that make complaining so difficult and stressful. These definitely need to be raised in the response. You've also suggested a couple of really good ideas for the future.
    Thank you for all your help, Louise
  6. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005

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