Preliminary evaluation of the efficacy and implementation of the new NHS complaints procedure

J. McCrindle (Researcher, Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, UK)
R.K. Jones (Lecturer in Sociology of Health and Illness, Department of Management and Social Sciences, Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, UK)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Publication date: 1 April 1998


The increase (28.8 per cent) in the number of complaints from pre‐New NHS Complaints Procedure to the implementation of the new procedures in 1996 is a matter of concern because it is estimated that the current figure represents only 40 per cent of the number of people with some dissatisfaction. The Wilson Report prompted Government initiatives in producing a new NHS Complaints Procedure. The new procedure allows for complaints to be dealt with at a local level, or in a minority of cases through Independent Review. The new procedures, which were introduced in April 1996, oblige Trusts, GP practices and Health Boards to establish a Written Local Resolution process for handling complaints, responsibility for implementation lying with individual trusts. A preliminary assessment of the New Procedures was carried out in Lothian. A qualitative approach was utilised and semi‐structured taped interviews lasting on average one hour ten minutes were administered to the six complaints officers. This study concentrates on how the six Lothian NHS Trusts are implementing the new procedure, the openness in complaints handling, and the awareness of how complaints can be used to improve standards. The conclusion is that Local Resolution 1 has been successful, and that complaints do receive a speedy response. The process is much simpler and easier for the lay population to access. Reservations remain, however, towards the Independent Review procedure.



McCrindle, J. and Jones, R. (1998), "Preliminary evaluation of the efficacy and implementation of the new NHS complaints procedure", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 41-44.

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Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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