In response to the Health Committee’s Fourth Report – Complaints and Raising Concerns, Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said:
“We welcome the report. We agree with the committee that there is a ‘toxic cocktail’ of service users reluctant to complain and health and social care organisations reluctant to listen. We also agree it makes sense to move towards joining up complaints in health and social care.
“Improving the likelihood that complaints will be made in health and social care will mean encouraging older people in particular to complain. Not only are they the largest single users of health and social care but they are also proportionately less likely to voice dissatisfaction. Independent Age has been working with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to encourage more complaints from older people.
“Key to success will be instilling a culture within health and social care that welcomes complaints as an opportunity to improve. We think that more use could be made of the annual NHS staff survey to measure the extent to which staff feel that they are able to raise concerns without threat to their jobs and careers. We would also like consideration to be given to a similar survey of staff in the social care field. At the moment, care workers are more likely to leave an organisation that they are unhappy about, rather than make a formal complaint. We should be lionising ‘whistleblowers’ rather than demonising them.”