The Chairman of the Healthcare Commission has confirmed that the Commission has faced higher than expected numbers of cases referred to it for independent consideration of national health service complaints since taking on the role in July 2004. From launch to the end of June 2006, 15,460 requests for independent review were received by the Healthcare Commission. Some 2,321 complaints are waiting to be investigated by a case manager. The average age of these queuing cases is 6.5 months. Of these, 2,021 have been waiting longer than eight weeks, 1,198 have been waiting over six months and no complaints have been waiting one year or longer for the start of a case manager review. In addition, there are some 2,907 cases under active review by case managers.
The Department and Healthcare Commission are working together to see how the NHS complaints process might be improved and how better local resolution of complaints can be achieved.