An investigation of 200 complaints by the charity Help the Aged says patients' lives are being put at risk by the failure of the complaints procedure to act quickly and effectively to deal with issues of neglect. The charity calls for a fast-track system to be introduced.
Many feel daunted by the complexity and length of the complaints process. Even when a complaint is upheld after an independent review or an investigation by the NHS ombudsman there is no requirement on hospitals to respond.
A second report by the Public Law Project, a legal charity, identifies "serious failings" in the complaints procedure, which was reformed in 1996. It includes complaints about GPs disappearing into a "black hole." It says the system must be made more independent.Reuse content