§ Mr. Ashley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will specify what formal procedures for making complaints and representations, specifying where appropriate under which sections of which Acts, are now available locally and nationally, or will soon be available under the Children Act 1989, to children and young people under 18 years of age who wish to make complaints about matters which are the responsibility of his Department.
§ Mr. Dorrell
The information requested is as follows:
(a) The National Health Service (Service Committees and Tribunal) Regulations 1974 (as amended) made under sections 29, 36, 39 and 42 of the National Health Service Act 1977 provide for a complaint to be formally investigated if it has been made by or on behalf of any person entitled to family health services and alleges that a family practitioner has failed to comply with the relevant terms of service.
(b) Directions issued to health authorities under section 17 of the NHS Act 1977, and issued following the Hospital Complaints Procedure Act 1985, provide a formal framework for dealing with complaints made about services, care or treatment received in hospital.
(c) Section 120(1)(b) of the Mental Health Act 1983, requires that any complaint made by a detained, or formerly detained, patient should be investigated. This duty is undertaken by the Mental Health Act Commission under section 121(b) of the same Act.
(d) Section 111 of the NHS Act 1977 enables any individual to make a complaint to the Health Service Commissioner with regard to certain failures in service or maladministration by health authorities, family health service authorities, the Mental Health Act Commission and the Public Health Laboratory Service Board.
(e) Section 26 of the Local Government Act 1974 allows complaints of maladministration to be made to the Commissioner for Local Administration in relation to local authority personal social services.
(f) The Department has introduced formal complaints procedures in both its youth treatment centres. Complaints may be made by residents about any aspect of their life in the youth treatment centres.
(g) Section 26(3) of the Children Act 1989, to be implemented in October 1991, requires local authorities to set up procedures to consider representations including complaints about the provision of services to children and families under part III of that Act. Section 59(4) requires voluntary organisations to set up procedures to consider representations including complaints made by children accommodated by them, but not looked after by local authorities, and by other people connected with the child. Paragraph 10(2)(1) of schedule 6 to the Act places a similar requirement on registered children's homes.
The Department does not hold information centrally about national or local procedures for making complaints and representations which fall outside the scope of the legislation mentioned.