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NHS complaints body is sorry for delays

Healthcare Commission failing to meet targets


Thousands of patients who’ve complained about treatment in the NHS are being left in limbo because of a huge backlog in cases, it has been reported today.

The Healthcare Commission – which investigates complaints – aims to deal with 85 per cent of complaints within six months.

But in 55 per cent – or 3,000 –  of the current cases, complainants have been waiting for longer than six months and nearly 900 have spent more than a year waiting for an outcome, the BBC Radio 4 Today programme reported.

Additional distress

The commission’s healthcare department head Marcia Fry said: ‘Certainly we are not meeting our own targets and we are very sorry for the additional distress that we are causing people as a result of that.

‘But we have seen this unprecedented rise of complaints coming to us – 17,000 in the two years since we have taken on this function – against 3,000 each year in the NHS.’

Ms Fry said the organisation was dedicating more staff to the backlog and was investing nearly £10 million to fight it. The commission received around 8,000 complaints last year.

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