The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 aims to improve patients' experiences of using health services and to support people to become more involved in their health and health care. The Act raises the status and focus of patient rights and, together with supporting legislation, provides for the encouragement of feedback, comment, concerns and complaints on health care services and also clarifies the responsibilities of relevant NHS bodies and their health service providers in Scotland. Important provisions within the legislation which impact on this guidance are:
- Health service providers and relevant NHS bodies now have the same 20 day period to investigate and respond to complaints
- The establishment of the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS)
- The requirement on the relevant NHS bodies to appoint a Feedback and Complaints Manager and a Feedback and Complaints Officer
- The requirement on health service providers to appoint a Feedback and Complaints Officer
- The requirement for quarterly monitoring of complaints and annual publication of information about feedback, comments, concerns and complaints; and
- The requirement to demonstrate what learning and improvement has taken place as a result of feedback, comments, concerns and complaints
The aim of the guidance is to assist the relevant NHS bodies and their health service providers in handling and responding to feedback, comments, concerns and complaints raised in relation to health care in accordance with the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011. This will help to support the development of a culture across the whole of the NHS in Scotland that actively encourages and welcomes feedback, comments, concerns and complaints. A culture that values all forms of feedback whether this is good or bad in order to learn from patients', carers and service users experiences.
Collecting and reporting data
The legislation places clear responsibility on the relevant NHS bodies and health service providers to record the data they receive in relation to feedback, comments, concerns and complaints:
- Relevant NHS bodies will collate and review complaints information quarterly and feedback, comments and concerns information annually
- Quarterly reports will be prepared for complaints only
- An annual report will be prepared and published by relevant NHS bodies for feedback, comments, concerns and complaints. There is a requirement to summarise what action has been or is to be taken to improve services as a result of feedback, comments, concerns and complaints received in the year
- Health service providers will provide their respective relevant NHS body with complaints information as requested on a quarterly basis and feedback, comments and concerns data on an annual basis; and
- NHS bodies will submit complaints data annually to the Information Services Division (ISD), a Division of NHS National Services Scotland, for collation and publication of national complaints statistics.
The Act also places responsibility on Scottish Ministers to publish a Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities by 1 October 2012. The purpose of the Charter is to set out a summary of the rights and responsibilities of patients using the NHS in Scotland, and of people who have a personal interest in such patients' welfare. The Charter reflects a patient's right to be treated with dignity and respect; to have their privacy and confidentiality upheld; to have the right that the NHS services they receive take into account their individual needs, abilities and circumstances; the right to information and communication that helps them participate and make informed choices and decision about their health care; the right to give feedback, comments, concerns and complaints.
Email: Joanna Swanson
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