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Healthcare Commission: Complaints

Volume 493: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints the Healthcare Commission has (a) received and (b) resolved in each year since its inception; what the average cost of processing such complaints has been to date; how many staff were employed by the Commission to handle complaints in each year; and what expenditure the Commission incurred on complaints handling in each such year. (277042)

The Care Quality Commission took over from the Healthcare Commission on 1 April 2009. At the same time, the previous three-stage national health service complaints procedure (local resolution, Healthcare Commission, health service ombudsman) was replaced by a two-stage process (local resolution, health service ombudsman). The Healthcare Commission’s complaints handling functions (including information and staffing) have therefore not been transferred to CQC.

The number of complaints received and reviewed up to 31 July 2008 is available from the Healthcare Commission’s three reports “Spotlight on Complaints—A report on second-stage complaints about the NHS in England” published in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

From July 2004 to July 2006—16,130 requests for review were received. In the same period, 10,950 reviews were completed.

From August 2006 to July 2007—7,500 requests for review were received. In the same period, 10,366 reviews were completed.

From August 2007 to 31 July 2008—7,827 requests for review were received. In the same period, 8,949 reviews were completed.

In the 2007 Spotlight on Complaints report the Healthcare Commission published figures on staffing related to the period July 2004 to July 2006. During this time the number of staff dealing with cases increased from 21 to more than 150.

According to the Healthcare Commission annual report and accounts 2007-08, the net operating cost of the Commission’s complaints handling function in 2007-08 was £9.6 million, compared to £9.8 million in 2006-07. However, given that the handling and resolution of complaints also draws on resources from elsewhere in the Commission, it is not possible to calculate accurately the full average cost of handling each complaint.