The new complaints and redress scheme differs from the current complaints procedure in many ways and GPs will have to comply with specific responsibilities set out in the regulations.
(Vocus/PRWEB) 11 March 2011
GPs in Wales need to appoint a ‘senior investigations manager’ to investigate patient concerns under a new complaints and redress scheme, some of which is due to come into effect on 1 April this year.
The regulations(1), which relate to ‘concerns, complaints and redress arrangements’ will affect all NHS health services in Wales, and mean patients, their relatives and staff can raise any concern about their NHS treatment or care, including patient safety incidents.
However, the MDU is reassuring GPs that the redress requirements, which come into force on 1 October, do not apply to them. These allow NHS bodies to offer Welsh patients compensation up to £25,000 where there has been negligence.
Dr Sally Old, MDU medico-legal adviser, said:
“The new complaints and redress scheme differs from the current complaints procedure in many ways and GPs will have to comply with specific responsibilities set out in the regulations. For example, each body, including GP practices, will have to appoint a ‘responsible officer’ to oversee the operation of the scheme, ensure any relevant lessons are learnt and sign off the written responses to complaints. There must also be a ‘senior investigations manager’ in charge of investigating concerns. GPs also need to know that they and their staff can raise concerns under the scheme, for example, if there is an adverse incident.
“Patients and relatives will be able to raise concerns direct with the Health Board, rather than the practice, and anyone who remains dissatisfied with a response to a concern will be able to refer it direct to the Ombudsman, rather than needing to go through the independent review stage, as is the case currently.
“We support the principles of this new scheme but are pleased that the compensation requirements exclude primary care and independent providers of NHS care. It was originally suggested that the redress requirement would apply to all NHS services and we objected strongly. It would have caused chaos to include GPs and independent providers in an NHS compensation scheme for low value claims when they are not NHS indemnified.
“We will be producing guidance to help members understand their new duties in responding to concerns, including advice on how to resolve concerns at a local level.”
(1) The National Health Service (Concerns, Complaints and Redress Arrangements) (Wales) Regulations 2011.
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