NHS complaints and clinical failure evidence continues

10 February 2015

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) considers how clinical failure in the NHS is investigated—and how subsequent complaints are handled. There is suggestion that the culture is too focussed on apportioning blame and avoiding litigation and not enough on learning and improving.


Tuesday 10 February 2015, Thatcher Room, Portcullis House

At 9.30am

  • Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive, Patients Association, 
  • Katherine Rake, CEO, Healthwatch England, 
  • Peter Walsh, Chief Executive, Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA).

At 10.30am

  • Dame Julie Mellor DBE, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,
  • Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Care Quality Commission (CQC)

Purpose of the session

The session will consider:

  • Performance of the present system for gathering and disseminating information about serious incidents
  • Complaints driving clinical change
  • Roles of PHSO and the CQC in investigating clinical incidents today
  • Relative benefits that a new clinical accident investigation body might bring to this area

Aim of the inquiry

The Committee is considering ways that untoward clinical incidents could be investigated immediately at a local level, so that facts and evidence are established early, without the need to find blame, and regardless of whether a complaint has been raised. It is hoped that this work will reduce the need for complaints to go to the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO), whose main role relates to administrative and service failures in the NHS in England. 

The Committee will take evidence on one further occasion, from Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, on Wednesday 25 February, before making recommendations to Parliament.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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