Health service commissioner Michael Buckley has highlighted 'an apparent anomaly' in the directions given to health authorities and trusts on their roles in the new NHS complaints system.
In the first report in a series intended to 'give wider publicity and easier access to reports raising matters of particular interest' he looks at two cases involving GPs and North Wales HA.
Mr Buckley upheld a complaint against a GP who had written 'insensitively' to a patient following receipt of a report from an independent review panel. But he found she had 'acted in good faith', on the basis of instructions from the HA to respond. He asked the HA to consider rewording of such letters.
He also noted that in cases involving hospitals, the body complained about had to let complainants know what action would follow an independent review panel's report, while no obligation was placed on those involved in GP complaints.
In the second case, he did not uphold a complaint from a GP who said the HA should not have dealt with a complaint because of pending legal action. Mr Buckley found the patient's comments 'did not amount to a stated intention to start legal proceedings'.
Investigations about Aspects of the NHS Complaints Procedure. www.ombudsman.org.uk