NHS Present Complaint Handling System about Healthcare. Is it Fit for the Purpose?

Document Type : Review Article


Department of Radiology, Healthpoint Hospital, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.


Introduction: Despite massive recent changes in the complaint handling process of NHS, the process is still complex. There is increase in the number of complaints and inconsistency in the complaint handling. According to the Secretary of State for Health’s statement to the parliament standing committee, “there are 12,000 avoidable hospital deaths every year. More than 10,000 serious incidents are reported to NHS England, out of a total of 1.4 million mostly low-harm or no-harm incidents annually. There were 338 recorded “never events” (such as wrong site surgery) during 2013-14 and NHS England received 174,872 written complaints. The NHS Litigation Authority’s latest estimate of clinical negligence liabilities is £26.1 billion. The cost of the Francis Inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was £13.6 million." 
Good quality complaints handling is an indicator of continuous improvement in the quality and safety of health care. The objective of this review was to analyse whether the current NHS complaint handling system is fit for the purpose. 
Materials & Methods:  A narrative review of the relevant literature known to the author was conducted.
Conclusion: Whilst the Government has brought major changes in the complaint handling process of NHS, the patients are still dissatisfied with the current process. There are some perceived gaps and lack of coherence in the current complaint handling system indicating that it is not fit for the purpose.