“The Government needs to reform the broken complaints system” – Which? response to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“We know people are reluctant to complain because they don’t feel confident that action will be taken. The Government needs to reform the broken complaints system in public services to prevent serious failings.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Our‘Make complaints count’campaign now has over 83,000 supporters and is calling on the Government to pledge to be the champion of patients, parents and all users of public services by committing to:
  • Requiring all regulators of public services to use complaints to trigger inspections;
  • Giving people access to independent support to help them complain;
  • Introducing a single public services ombudsman to deal with complaints effectively;
  • Allowing representative groups to make super-complaints on behalf of those impacted; and
  • Ensuring whistleblowers are listened to and their concerns acted upon.People can support the campaign at www.which.co.uk/publicservices
  1. Which? submitted a dossier of evidence on the problems we’ve found with the public service complaints system to David Cameron in March 2015 calling on him to implement reforms following the General Election. The evidence was based on our research,including over 14,000 stories submitted to Which? in 2014/15. You can see the full report and stories here:www.which.co.uk/psdossier
  1. Which? research has found:
  • 41% of people who have experienced a problem with the NHS in the past year didn’t complain.
  • 34% of those who didn’t complain about a problem with the NHS said they didn’t know who to complain to – more than double the percentage (15%) who said the same in 2012.
  • 34% didn’t complain because they didn’t think anything would be done.
  • The most common problems with hospitals and GPs were the quality of the service (39%), communications from professionals (35%) and the service being poorly managed (34%).

Methodology: Populus, on behalf of Which?, conducted an online survey of 4,132 UK adults between 19th and 23rd February 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all UK adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by their rules.

  1. The figure of 5.3 million for complaining formally is based on all those who complained to a representative of the service provider (e.g. member of staff) or fed back through another official channel (e.g. the ombudsman/regulator/MP). The survey data is extrapolated to the total number of people, based on the latest ONS mid-year population estimates. Methodology: Populus, on the behalf of Which?, conducted an online survey of 4058 UK adults between 6th – 12th February 2015. Data were weighted to be representative of all UK adults.

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