Health Minister Robin Swann has emphasised the importance of improving complaint handling processes in the health and social care services.
The Minister said: “People need to know who to turn to when services are failing them and they need to be assured that their complaints will be taken seriously and acted upon.”
The Department of Health has today published an independent report into the handling of complaints about safeguarding and care at Dunmurry Manor Care Home.
The complaints review was among a series of reports commissioned by the Department in 2018, in response to the publication of the “Home Truths” report by the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland.
The report proposes eight actions including: implementing a programme of change in respect of the handling of HSC Complaints, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman; ensuring straightforward information is readily available; adopting a complainant-centred approach involving listening and responding decisively; ensuring a regionally consistent approach to procedures, forms and training and learning; and changing and improving through better use of data and information.
The report also addresses the roles and responsibilities of the Patient Client Council and the RQIA.
Responding to the report, Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I want to thank the independent review team at CPEA for its comprehensive work and for its detailed engagement with all stakeholders throughout the review.
“I am committed to improving the outcomes for individuals who wish to complain about health and social care services to ensure that service users, carers and their families’ voices are heard.
“It is very clear that residents of Dunmurry Manor and their families were badly let down when it came to how complaints were dealt with. This has been a recurring challenge in the health and social care system and processes must be improved.
“People need to know who to turn to when services are failing them and their loved ones and they need to be assured that their complaints will be taken seriously and acted upon.”
The Department will be working closely with the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman to strengthen and enhance the way complaints are managed across health and social care; to improve the experience of those who make a complaint and to ensure that learning from complaints is used to deliver real service improvements and reassurance to care home users and their families.
Notes to editors:
- A copy of the report: Independent Whole System Review into Safeguarding and Care at Dunmurry Care Home – Complaints Evidence Paper, is available to download on the Department’s website.
- Further CPEA assessments in relation to Dunmurry Manor will be published.
- The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman recently consulted on a Statement of Principles and a Model Complaints Handling Procedure to reform how complaints are managed across all public service sectors. The Department will work in partnership with the Ombudsman to develop a revised HSC Complaints Procedure to improve the experience of those who make a complaint.
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