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Views sought on complaints process


The Health and Social Care Board has been asked by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) to seek people’s views on the process used to deal with complaints made regarding services they receive from HSC Trusts and family health care practitioners – doctors, dentists, pharmacists and opticians.

The current process was introduced in April 2009 at a time when Northern Ireland’s health and social services were undergoing changes under the Review of Public Administration. The new organisations, including the Board, are now consolidated in their roles, making it an opportune time to evaluate the complaints service that is available.

The complaints process uses the concept of ‘enhanced local resolution’ where the aim is to try and resolve complaints at the earliest possible juncture. Service users who have used the process during the past two years can now directly relate their experience of it under the review process. This is available in an on-line questionnaire through the Board’s website – Online Survey – Evaluation of the HSC Complaints Procedure

The objective of the evaluation, which will run until March 30th , is to help assess whether the process is robust and is offering both service users and health care organisations and practitioners an optimal system for managing complaints. More specifically, the evaluation is focussing upon seven key aspects of the complaints process, namely:

Mrs Liz Fitzpatrick, who is co-ordinating the evaluation on behalf of the Board, said it was important for the exercise to try and measure how well the system is working – and to identify any scope for further improvement.

The Board will welcome the input, through the questionnaire, of anyone who can take the short time needed to complete this on its website. These returns will also be received and analysed confidentially and independently of the Board through The Beeches Management Centre, a specialist health and social services training unit.

The feedback from the evaluation will form the basis of discussion at a focus group to be held on Wednesday 6th April 2011. A final report on the outcome of the evaluation will be forwarded to DHSSPS in early May 2011.