The Royal College of Nursing has pledged to produce guidance for nurses on dealing with complaints from patients, as part of its response to a major review.
An independent report on the way the NHS handles complaints was published yesterday. Making a raft of recommendations, the report called for a “revolution” in the way in which the NHS handles complaints.
It is the result of a review chaired by Ann Clwyd, Labour MP for Cynon Valley, and Professor Tricia Hart, chief executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and a former nurse.
They took the unusual step of securing undertakings from key health organisations to ensure that action will be taken within the next year.
For example, 12 organisations including the RCN, have jointly signed up to nearly 30 actions to help improve the complaints culture across the NHS.
The report states that, for its action, the RCN has agreed to produce a short guide/advice sheet for nurses by spring 2014.
College chief executive and general secretary Pewter Carter said: “The RCN welcomes the opportunity to help promote a more open, accessible and timely feedback system by pledging to produce guidance for nursing staff to help them deal with complaints sensitively and thoroughly.
“One instance of poor care is one instance too many, and everyone in the health service from the highest levels of management to frontline staff must now act on this report to create a culture where staff, patients and relatives do not feel helpless when things go wrong,” he said.
Dr Carter highlighted that “culture in a hospital or trust has a real impact on the quality of patient care”.
He added: “This report makes it clear that managers have a responsibility to show leadership in creating an environment where complaints are regarded as a valuable tool to address poor practice and make changes.
“There is also an important role to be played by directors of nursing, who can ensure that a ‘ward to board’ approach is taken, with senior managers leading by example.”
Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.