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Opportunity to shape reforms to health and care complaints process

Monday, 6 September 2021

Members of the public are invited to have their say on proposals to update and improve the way complaints about health and social care services are handled in the Isle of Man.

A public consultation on a wide-ranging series of proposed reforms is now live on the Consultation Hub and input from the public is welcome until the closing date, Monday 18 October 2021.  

The consultation explains how government is taking a two-pronged approach to reforming the Island’s health and social care complaints process.

In the short term, new Regulations will modernise specific aspects of the current process. Longer-term reform will require new primary legislation and a comprehensive review of the complaints process is planned as part of the new Health and Social Care reform Bill.

The consultation sets out in easy-to-understand terms the scope of the new Regulations and Bill, explaining how the proposals, if approved, would improve the current process. Participants are guided through the document topic by topic, and invited to make comments at each stage.

In part one of the consultation, key proposals include offering enhanced support for members of the public with concerns about services, alongside clear guidance and information about how to make a complaint.

Feedback is invited on whether support services such as the new Manx Care Advice and Liaison Service should be provided on a statutory basis. This service which aims to resolve patients and service users concerns at an early stage preventing them escalating into complaints. Comment is also invited on proposals for an independent advocacy service to help people understand their rights and express their views.  

Other proposals include creating a simpler complaints process, increasing the timescale for lodging a complaint, improving the training of those handling complaints and keeping complainants better informed about the progress of investigations. A requirement for prompt remedial action to be taken to improve services when lessons are learned from a complaint is also tabled.

Part two of the consultation deals with longer-term reforms of the complaints system, and a number of diverse issues are set out for comment. These include whether the Department of Health and Social Care should set complaints handling quality standards for providers, and whether all health and care providers, including private operators, should have a statutory complaints process.

This section also considers the creation of an independent adjudicator or Ombudsman for the review of all health and social care complaints.

The consultation places the department’s plans for modernising the complaints system in context, summarising existing arrangements and explaining where reform is needed to bring the Island’s complaints regime in line with best practice, for the benefit of patients and service users.

The paper sets out the how the Department of Health and Social Care is ultimately responsible for oversight of a high quality complaints process, while Manx Care is responsible for the complaints handling procedure for services it provides to the public directly.  

The two-part consultation on proposals to revise legislation in relation to complaints about health and social care services in the Isle of Man is now open.

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