Social Services

Department of Health written question – answered on 16th January 2015.

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Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Labour, South Shields

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will bring forward proposals to make it a statutory requirement for care providers to make clients aware of the Local Government Ombudsman complaints procedure.

Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Labour, South Shields

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will bring forward proposals to introduce a statutory requirement for care providers to publish an annual report on their internal complaints procedures.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

There are no current plans to introduce a statutory requirement for care providers to make users of services aware of the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) complaints procedure.

In December 2013, the Department set up a Complaints Programme Board to bring together a range of partners across the care system to implement actions which will lead to improvements in complaints handling, as set out in Hard Truths, the Government’s response to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry.

The LGO is part of this crucial work programme, which has been developed with other national partners to bring about important changes to the way complainants are supported and complaints are handled across the care system.

We do not propose to introduce a statutory requirement for care providers to publish an annual report on their internal complaints procedures. However, Regulation 19 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010 requires that providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) must have a system in place for identifying, receiving, handling and responding to complaints and comments made by service users or anyone acting on their behalf.

In particular, service providers must ensure that any complaint made is fully investigated and where practicable, resolved to the satisfaction of the service user or the person acting on their behalf.

CQC’s guidance on complying with this regulation sets out that service users should be aware of the steps they can take if they are not satisfied with the findings or outcome once a complaint has been responded to. This includes their being advised of their right to refer the matter to the LGO.

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