Complaints from patients should provide some of the most powerful information to help improve services, but the current way of handling them is a hindrance not a help
As friends and family test scores were published today, the argument was restated that its real purpose was to give staff insight into their services, so they can improve care.
‘The recent service restructure seems to have made some information about NHS services more difficult to access’
Notwithstanding widespread doubt about the initiative’s validity, the scheme is an illustration of the current enthusiasm in NHS England and in parts of government for finding new ways of promoting customer service and openness.
The NHS has taken some big strides in improving transparency in recent months, but the recent service restructure seems to have made some information about NHS services more difficult to access.
Some data relating to quality and finance, which was regularly available pre-April, is now surfacing slowly or not at all.
Meanwhile, a large backlog of complaints about primary care has built up, which NHS England is having to work its way through.
Complaints should offer some of the most powerful information to drive improvement. It is hard to see how the current policy of channelling thousands of complaints through a single contact centre is the best way to foster responsive services.