Ombudsman investigations to rise

COMPLAINTS against medical and dental practices in England are more likely to be investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman under new procedures being enacted from this April.

The plans were outlined in a recent statement from the Ombudsman service which said: "The starting point will be that once a complaint meets some basic tests, it will usually be investigated. This means the Ombudsman service will be investigating and sharing the learning from thousands more complaints each year."

The Ombudsman has also pledged to share more information on complaints with government organisations and the NHS in order to identify service failures and deliver service improvement, especially in light of the recent findings by the Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry.

Julie Mellor, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman said: "We’ve responded to feedback from public services, parliamentarians and our public research. That’s why we will begin investigating more complaints from the beginning of April.

"We want complaints to make a difference and help improve public services for everyone. There will be more opportunities for service providers to learn from complaints which can be used to improve public services. We still want complaints to be resolved locally wherever possible. By sharing more of the learning from complaints that do come to us, we will help organisations get better at resolving the complaints themselves."