ISCAS is pleased to be working with the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO) on the Complaints Standards Framework. The aim is to ensure that there is clarity on what constitutes ‘good practice’ in complaints handling, that staff are trained to deliver the defined ‘good practice’, and that there is a focus on learning from complaints.
The framework is intended to be high-level with a focus on principles and supported separately with more detailed guidance. In practical terms this means how frontline staff apply the framework, and what boards can do to help their organisations embed learning.
The framework is currently focused on the NHS, which is in line with the PHSO’s remit. Unfortunately by law PHSO cannot look into complaints about privately-funded healthcare services – this includes care provided in the independent sector and by Private Patient Units within NHS Trusts. PHSO does signpost people who may want to complain about privately-funded healthcare to ISCAS on the website.
ISCAS believes that working together with the PHSO on the Complaints Standards Framework will help to improve consistency in complaint handling across healthcare, whether NHS or privately funded. This will provide benefits for patients who move across sectors and also for staff who may work in both NHS and the independent sector.
ISCAS will be attending the next Complaints Standards Framework working group meeting later in February 2020. We will then survey existing ISCAS subscribers for feedback on how best to update the ISCAS Code so that it continues to be relevant to the independent sector, whilst aligned with the new framework. In conjunction with the ISCAS Code review, we will also be continuing to work with the Patients Association on updating the Patients Guide to the ISCAS Code.