Are you experiencing significant delays in receiving a response from the Ombudsman about your NHS complaint? The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee highlight delays and backlogs with the Ombudsman in dealing with complaints, including the decision to stop processing level 1 and 2 health complaints.
In May 2022, UK Parliament published a House of Commons Committee Report relating to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Scrutiny 2020- 2021.
The Ombudsman is an independent complaints service that deals with unresolved complaints by NHS England and Government Departments. The Ombudsman is independent of the Government and NHS England and is accountable to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.
The report above highlights a scrutiny inquiry relating to the Ombudsman’s performance of casework and productivity, staff management, value for money and impact on other organisations.
In particular, the report highlights:
“As of March 2021, the PHSO faced an unallocated casework backlog of over 3,000 cases. In response to this backlog, the PHSO is implementing productivity measures and requesting additional resources to increase the number of caseworkers. The PHSO has also taken the decision to stop processing level 1 and level 2 health complaints. The Committee received evidence suggesting the PHSO needs to improve the communication of this change and what it means for service users.”
The report suggests if you have made a complaint during this period and your complaint was considered level 1 or level 2, the PHSO may have stopped processing your request.
On 31st March 2023, UK Parliament published the sixth report of the session. Parties considered that within the past financial year, the backlog of cases had been brought down substantially. Still, there was a remaining concern with a continued policy of declining to consider less serious health complaints for another year.
It is considered the strategy for 2022-2025 shall have three new objectives:
- People who use public services have a better awareness of the role of the Ombudsman and can easily access its service.
- People it works with receive a high quality, empathetic and timely service, according to international ombudsman principles.
- It contributes to a culture of learning and continuous improvement, leading to high stands in public service.
On the basis that the strategy is to be implemented over the next three years, it remains to be seen whether the Ombudsman will achieve their objectives.
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