The majority of patients who are admitted to hospital with illnesses and injuries receive tremendous care and treatment from NHS services. However there are, unfortunately, some patients whose experiences are less positive and they may be wondering how they can voice their concerns and try and improve patient services overall.
On 1 April 2011 the NHS (Concerns, Complaints and Redress) (Wales) Regulations 2011 came into force. This is also known as the Putting Things Right Scheme .
The regulations introduced new arrangements for the handling and investigation of concerns (including complaints, claims for compensation and incidents concerning patient safety) about NHS services in Wales.
The scheme is comprised of two parts. The first part is essentially the complaints procedure and involves submitting a letter of complaint to the Health Board which sets out your concerns with regards to the treatment you have received.
When the Health Board has received your complaint, the regulations place an obligation on them to investigate your concerns in order to determine whether or not there is a “qualifying liability” with regards to the treatment you have received.
In order to establish that there is a “qualifying liability” you must be able to prove that the treatment you received was substandard and that as a result of that treatment you suffered further injury or harm.
If the Health Board accepts that there is or may be a qualifying liability then this triggers the second part of the scheme which requires a consideration of whether a form of redress should be offered to you.
Offers of redress can include:
- A written apology to you for the treatment that you received
- A report produced by the Health Board on the action which has been, or will be taken, to prevent similar cases arising again
- An offer of treatment/rehabilitation to help relieve the problem
- An offer of financial redress which can include offers of compensation up to £25,000.
If following the Health Board’s investigations it is considered that a qualifying liability does or may exist then you are entitled to seek legal advice in relation to the course of action proposed by the Health Board. The costs of this legal advice will be met by the Health Board.
Hugh James is one of the panel firms who are authorised to provide legal advice to patients under the NHS redress regulations.
If you are thinking about raising a concern with the Health Board but you feel that you would like some assistance in doing so then you may wish to consider contacting your local Community Health Council who can assist you with submitting a complaint and guide you through the process .