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Sir Liam Donaldson appointed Independent Adviser to Ombudsman's clinical advice review

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman announced today that former Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson has been appointed as Independent Adviser to a major review of the Ombudsman’s clinical advice process. The Ombudsman has also announced today the launch of a public consultation on that process.

The clinical advice review is chaired by Sir Alex Allan KCB, non-executive Board member, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, and will examine how the Ombudsman commissions and uses independent clinical advice in its investigations.

Sir Alex Allan KCB said: “Sir Liam Donaldson is a global leader in public health and healthcare quality and safety. We are privileged to benefit from his extensive experience and knowledge as we undertake our clinical advice review. Sir Liam and I now welcome views and scrutiny from those who use our service and across the health sector."  

Clinical advice from health professionals frequently forms an important part of the evidence that the Ombudsman looks at to make final decisions on unresolved complaints about the NHS in England. Last year, the Ombudsman commissioned independent clinical advice in around three-quarters of the 2,355 health complaints it investigated.

A commitment was made in Our strategy 2018-21: Delivering an exemplary ombudsman service to review how the Ombudsman commissions and uses clinical advice in order to ensure that it is consistent with our organisational values of independence, fairness, excellence and transparency. 

The public consultation is open from today until 15 October 2018 and accessed via the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website. The review is expected to conclude in the New Year.

Contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman press office: 

sally.brown@ombudsman.org.uk | 0300 061 4144

Out of office hours | press@ombudsman.org.uk | 0300 061 4444


Notes to editors

  1. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman provides an independent and impartial complaint handling service for complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments. We look into complaints where someone believes there has been injustice or hardship because an organisation has not acted properly or has given a poor service and not put things right. We share findings from our casework to help Parliament scrutinise public service providers and to help drive improvements in public services and complaint handling.
  2. From 1998 to June 2010, Sir Liam Donaldson was Chief Medical Officer for England and the United Kingdom's Chief Medical Adviser. His work helped shape public health, NHS care and clinical practice including: the introduction of clinical governance, a comprehensive patient safety programme, smoke-free public places, regulated stem cell research and the establishment of a health protection service. He is currently the World Health Organisation’s Envoy for Patient Safety and Chairman of independent boards that monitor the global polio eradication programme.
  3. The Clinical Advice Review is chaired by Sir Alex Allan, non-executive Board member, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Sir Liam Donaldson is Independent Adviser to the Review. Other contributors are Dr Julia Tabreham, non-executive Board member, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and those in clinical, operational and legal roles at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
  4. Sir Alex Allan, KCB, is currently the Prime Minister's Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests. Sir Alex was a senior British civil servant with a long career at the highest levels of the Civil Service. Former roles include Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, High Commissioner to Australia and chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. Sir Alex joined the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman as a non-executive Board member in January 2018.