NHS Complaint Standards: Summary of expectations

Other NHS complaint handling requirements

The Complaint Standards work alongside several other important requirements for NHS staff.

The NHS Constitution

The Complaint Standards will help bring greater consistency to the delivery of several important aspects of the NHS Constitution. In particular:

Article 1: NHS organisations provide a comprehensive service, available to all. The NHS has a duty to each and every individual that it serves, and it must respect their human rights. This also relates to providing a comprehensive complaint handling service.

Article 4: The NHS will actively encourage feedback from the public, patients and staff, welcome it and use it to improve its services.

Article 5: NHS organisations work in partnership with other organisations in the interest of patients, local communities and the wider population. This also relates to working across organisational boundaries to respond to complaint issues.

Article 7: The NHS is accountable to the public, communities and patients that it serves - this is seen clearly and consistently via its handling and response to learning from complaints.

Duty of Candour

The Complaint Standards support the Duty of Candour’s approach to ensuring NHS organisations are open and transparent when harm appears to have been caused, or may have resulted from an incident. The Standards place emphasis on NHS staff applying the same principles if relevant concerns are identified during the handling of a complaint.

The Complaint Standards also support the approach to providing meaningful apologies and transparent explanations. They make it clear that an apology does not mean acceptance of legal liability.

Ask Listen Do

The Complaint Standards support the Ask Listen Do work to make sure NHS organisations make it easier for children, young people and adults with a learning disability, autism or both, to access the complaints system. They will promote best practice to make sure NHS organisations learn from complaints to improve the experiences of people with a learning disability, autism or both, and make it easier for families and paid carers to complain.

NHS Complaint Regulations

The Complaint Standards align with all the legal requirements arising from the NHS Complaint Regulations and other subsequent regulations that relate to complaint handling.