HC Deb 11 June 1986 vol 99 cc218-9W
Sir Geoffrey Finsberg

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he has taken to consult on the directions to be issued under the Hospital Complaints Procedure Act 1985; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hayhoe

We have today issued for consultation a paper containing our proposals for a complaints procedure for hospital patients and the publicity to be given to that procedure. This has gone to a wide range of professional and consumer bodies, and I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.

The consultation paper outlines a suggested procedure for handling complaints with the following key elements:

  • —a designated officer to receive and investigate written complaints made by or on behalf of patients
  • —a report of the investigation to be provided to the complainant and anyone implicated in the complaint
  • —health authorities to monitor the handling of complaints and assess their wider implications for service delivery
  • —publicity for the procedure in admission booklets, and leaflets and notices.

If agreed. this would mean that complaints should be handled in future at unit rather than district level, closer to the point of service delivery; that the designated officer would be known and accessible to patients; and that health authorities would for the first time be under a legal requirement to operate a publicised complaints procedure.

Comments have been invited by 30 September 1986, and the intention is that the directions should be issued early in 1987 to take effect from 1 April 1987.