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NHS complaints system faces review
Ministers have launched a review of the NHS complaints system in a bid to stop problems with poor care standards slipping through the net.
The review will be led by Labour MP Ann Clwyd who protested about the care her late husband received while he was in hospital last year.
The Prime Minister appointed the Cynon Valley MP, along with Professor Tricia Hart, the chief executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to conduct the review in the wake of the scandal at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
The review will consider how issues raised by patients and their families are listened to and acted upon. It will also examine how the NHS handles concerns raised by staff and how it supports whistleblowers.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "Complaints can be the earliest symptom of a problem within an organisation and the NHS should use them to learn from and improve their service."
Ms Clwyd added: "We all hope that when we go into hospital the care we receive will not give us cause to complain.
"However, when something does go wrong, it must be easy for patients and their carers to speak up, without fear. I am determined that the result of this review will be a system that ensures that any complaint or concern that patients or whistleblowers make will be listened to and acted upon."
Professor Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: " Patients' concerns and their experiences must be acted on, not ignored.
"We are pleased that the Government has announced that it will establish a review to look at how trusts currently act when concerns and issues are raised. In order to strengthen the system, we believe that the Government should also look at improving the representation of patient safety and dignity issues at Trust board levels. Patients must be put back at the centre of care."
The review team will report back to the Health Secretary in the summer.