Senior Fellow and HSMC’s Director of Policy, Hilary Brown is chairing a symposium entitled Overhauling the NHS Complaints System - Reducing Complexity to Improve Patient Experience and Safety on June 14th. Organised by the Public Policy Exchange, the London symposium will provide healthcare professionals and patient representatives the opportunity to examine the current complaints system and discuss ways it can be improved in order to enhance both service delivery and the quality of care.

Public confidence in the NHS has been shaken in recent times by evidence of poor care and treatment and subsequent failures of the complaints system to acknowledge or rectify these shortcomings. The number of complaints continues to increase while the complexity of the complaints system has been consistently highlighted as a barrier to effective learning and service improvement. Healthcare providers are expected to embrace a more open and transparent culture to encourage continuous learning and harm reduction, however the literature on learning from poor performance and failure suggests this is a complex undertaking that involves a reframing of purpose and a deeper exploration of professional behaviour and identity. This symposium therefore offers a timely exploration of the issues and challenges involved. 

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