Healthwatch England has recently said that ‘the NHS often doesn’t let witnesses file complaints – an omission akin to preventing people reporting an abandoned bag at an airport because they don’t have the owner’s permission’.
This mirrors the sentiment previously reported by Healthwatch Isle of Wight that many people that consider complaining about a hospital, care home or GP practice, find the procedures both complicated and frustrating.
People report that the number one reason they would complain is to prevent others having to suffer, but they say they are being prevented from doing this because the complaints system is too complicated, takes too much time and effort and they do not have faith that their feedback will make any difference.
The most recent CQC inspection of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust found that the Trust only responded to 47% of complaints between October 2013 and March 2014 within the 25 day target, or within agreed timescales.
At a prioritisation event held last year, complaints were highlighted as an area of concern for Island residents, and has as a result of this, been adopted in Healthwatch Isle of Wights’ current work plan. The CQC findings further solidify the need for current complaints processes to be improved upon.
You can access the survey by visiting www.healthwatchisleofwight.co.uk or by calling 01983 608608.
CQC’s ‘Complaints Matter’ report states:
‘Complaints matter in Health and Social Care. For too long they have not been taken seriously enough. It is still common for people who have suffered poor care to have negative experience compounded when they make a complaint. Too often, complaints are met with a defensive culture, instead of a willingness to listen.
Feedback from people who use services- compliments, concerns or complaints – should be valued. Every concern must be seen as an opportunity to improve the quality of care’.
Healthwatch Isle of Wight have agreed to work alongside the Trust to monitor and improve the current systems, but will remain an independent watchdog at all times.
If you have experienced poor care from the NHS and would like support in making a complaint, Healthwatch can refer you to our partner health advocacy service SEAP.
SEAP can support you with your NHS complaint, help you write letters to the right people, go with you to meetings with medical professionals and act on your direction rather than the wishes of others.
You can get in touch with Healthwatch Isle of Wight by one of the following methods:
Telephone 01983 608608 or text 07739 436600. Visit the Isle of Wight Citizens Advice Bureau located in the IsleHelp Advice Hub, 7 High Street, Newport, where you can share your experiences in person or visit the website at www.healthwatchisleofwight.co.uk. Alternatively you can email [email protected].