latest health care news

26.07.16

PHSO publishes new charter as part of transparency drive

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has published a new Service Charter as part of a commitment to increasing transparency about its role.

The new commitments for the PHSO’s dealings with complainants include explaining their role and what they can and can’t do, keeping complainants regularly updated and explaining how they reach each decision.

It also requires complaints to treat staff with courtesy and respect, understand that their complaint may not receive the response they want, and supply all the information asked for.

It requires organisations complained about to give a clear, final answer, make complainants aware of the PHSO, and collaborate with the Ombudsman.

Julie Mellor, the outgoing Ombudsman, said: “We have listened to people and are clear about what they want and expect from us.

“This is reflected in our new Service Charter, which is a set of quality standards which we will report on, and our commitments to people who use our service.

“We recognise it will take time for us to meet these commitments but we will work hard to do so and will be open and transparent about our progress.”

Mellor is due to step down as Ombudsman soon following criticism of her handling of correspondence about allegations that her deputy assisted in covering up a sexual harassment case.

She has suggested that the PHSO joins with the Local Government Ombudsman.

The Patients Association has criticised the PHSO for being “unaccountable, lacking integrity and worst of all, ineffective in instilling change”, allegations the PHSO has refuted.

PHSO has also now said that it will begin regularly publishing information on its website, including the length of time investigations have taken and customer satisfaction data, from the end of this year.

The PHSO handles complaints about public services, the majority of which are about the NHS, and recently flagged unsafe discharges of elderly patients as a particular area of concern.

(Image c. alexskopje)

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