MDDUS welcomes PHSO review

THE Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has published its response to a review of the way it uses clinical advice in NHS-related casework.

The PHSO has pledged to implement changes to provide greater assurance that clinical advice has been used correctly, and greater transparency for complainants and those investigated. Clinical advisers will be better integrated into the casework process, interacting more regularly with caseworkers to ensure requests for advice are framed correctly and advice has been accurately reflected in final decisions. The PHSO said that users of the service will be provided with clearer information about why clinical advice is being used, the credentials of those providing it and earlier opportunities to see the content of that advice.

Responding to review, MDDUS medical adviser Dr Susan Gibson-Smith said: "We welcome the care and time that the ombudsman has put into the exercise and the measured way he proposes to put the changes into effect. It’s clearly right that his judgements are properly informed by the best expert medical advice and that all parties to a complaint can understand the nature and basis of that advice.

"We agree that further dialogue as implementation progresses via the proposed advisory group can only be helpful and suggest that medical defence organisations should be represented on that body along with patients and other groups of interests."