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Hospitals have ‘toxic attitude’ to complaints


15 August 2013

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Hospital attitudes to complaints are a ‘toxic cocktail’ of defensiveness and reluctance, the NHS Ombudsman has announced. 
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, which investigates complaints into poor service and treatment, noted that staff felt blamed for raising issues rather than acknowledged. 
The organisation highlighted the need to move towards a culture of “feedback and improvement”, echoing Don Berwick’s recent report

Hospital attitudes to complaints are a ‘toxic cocktail’ of defensiveness and reluctance, the NHS Ombudsman has announced. 
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, which investigates complaints into poor service and treatment, noted that staff felt blamed for raising issues rather than acknowledged. 
The organisation highlighted the need to move towards a culture of “feedback and improvement”, echoing Don Berwick’s recent report
Hierarchy and deference in hospitals should be replaced with collaboration between leaders and staff to improve services, according to the ombudsman. 
Julie Mellor, Health Service Ombudsman lead said: “This research – the first of its kind – brings together patients, carers and frontline staff in designing a new model that works for everyone. 
“The strong message was the need for a step change in the culture from defensiveness to welcoming and seeking feedback, including concerns and complaints, to deliver continuous improvement and the best possible patient care.” 
The report released by the ombudsman is available to view online

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