asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the National Health Service complaints system, as now administered, is dealing satisfactorily with the complaints of older people; how long on average those people have to wait for clear outcomes; and what action they are taking to ensure that the complaints of older people are dealt with more quickly. [HL102]
The Government expect all complaints, from whatever age group they originate, to be dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible, with the prime aim of resolving any problems and satisfying the concerns of the complainant. An independent United Kingdom-wide evaluation of the complaints procedure is now in its final stages and due to submit findings to Ministers in early 2001. The NHS Plan made it clear that we will act on the results of the evaluation and reform the complaints procedure to make it more independent and responsive to patients, and this would, of course, include older people. The plan also sets out ways in which we will strengthen patient involvement in the National Health Service across the board through the creation of patients' fora, and the Patient Advocacy and Liaison Service, which will help patients raise concerns and have them dealt with quickly. In addition, regular surveys of patients' experience, both locally and nationally, will help to ensure that patients of all ages are placed at the centre of the NHS.Information on the average length of time people have to wait for a reponse is not available.