Friday, 29 August 2014

The Problem with a growing Complaints System

The fact that the number of complaints in the English National Health Service has risen sharply should not surprise anyone. After years of terrible headline stories about Midstaffs, and other institutions followed by the Francis report and Keogh reviews, anything else but a massive increase in complaints would have been an abnormal response from users of the National Health Service. There are many, including victims and relatives of victims of poor practice, who feel that what the NHS needs to get it back on the straight and narrow is such an increase and more.
This rapid increase cannot however be sustained .
Increased complaints and an undoubted  increase in funding for the NHS by whoever is elected next year makes my heart sink.
The expected response from a service that is hooked on process will I fear produce a megamonster  that will eventually strangle its parent and make efficient working increasingly difficult.  This is clearly self defeating and will threaten to produce a service that is less and not more safe.
I am not advocating that complaints should be discouraged or ignored but that the response of the NHS should be smarter. There surely must be good examples out there in the world outside the NHS bubble from whom lessons could be learnt.