asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now draw up a new system to deal with medical complaints including the establishing of a medical ombudsman; and what is his Department's policy on this matter.
A new procedure for handling complaints about the clinical judgment of hospital medical staff was brought into operation in England from 1 September last year. It provides for complaints which cannot be satisfactorily resolved by the consultant concerned to be investigated by two independent consultants in the appropriate specialty. Details of the procedure were set out in a memorandum of guidance to health authorities (HC(81)5) which is available in the Library. We are keeping the procedure under review.