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In 1996 new statutory guidelines were published, but there is no definitive guidance available about implementation. Staff are expected to follow certain procedures. In theory this is an area that could involve all staff anywhere in the NHS and complaints are on the increase. In 1997-98 over 38 000 written complaints were received in England alone, about general medical and dental services and family health services administration. Complaints systems have been classified as one element of clinical governance and so are likely to have an even higher profile in future.
A Practical Guide to Complaints Handling is set out in two parts, Primary Care and Secondary Care. The material is user friendly and assessable equally to professional and lay people. Practical examples are used to demonstrate the best way to deal with each scenario. The underpinning legislation is provided in an appendix.
Section 1 NHS Complaints and Clinical Governance: The Principles of the NHS Complaints System. Understanding Complaints. Supporting Complainants. Monitoring and Clinical Governance. Specialist Complaints Handling. The Role of the Health Services Commissioner
Section 2 Primary Care Complaints. Can Complaints be Prevented? Local Resolution Conciliation. The Clinicians Role. The Health Service Commissioner and Primary Care.
Section 3 The Health Authorities Role. The Convening Decision. The Independent Review Panel. Complaints Monitoring and Clinical Governance. Purchasing Complaints.
Section 4 Secondary Care Complaints. Can Complaints be Prevented? Local Resolution. The Convening Decision. The Independent Review Panel. Clinical Participation. The Health Services Commissioner and secondary care.
Section 5 Appendix. Department of Health Information and Guidance. References