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Departments: Complaints

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff worked in dedicated complaints units in her Department and its executive agencies in (a) 1997-98, (b) 2001-02 and (c) 2005-06; and how many have there have been in 2006-07 to date. (121676)

The Department established responsibility for the management of complaints about the Department within its customer service centre in September 2004.

Between 1997-98 and 2001-02 there have been no dedicated staff and complaints have been dealt with at local level.

Since February 2005, there have been two members of staff spending some of their time working on complaints.

Complaints about public consultation exercises and Freedom of Information reviews are carried out by specialist units within the Department.

The NHS Purchasing and Supply Unit (PASA) has no dedicated staff or units for complaints and complaints are handled by its corporate affairs unit.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had no staff working in dedicated complaints units in the Department and executive agencies in 1997-98, 2001-02, 2005-06 and 2006-07 to date.

However the MHRA has had an independent complaints adviser for the whole period to date. This person has complaints referred to them where they cannot be resolved internally to the complainant’s satisfaction.