Rosie Cooper MP said that listening to NHS patients through better handling of complaints would be a start to improving accountability and transparency in the NHS following the Francis Report into the failings of Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
MP Rosie put her name to a Parliamentary motion that was debated on Thursday 14 March 2013. The motion stated that accountability and transparency are of paramount importance.
During the speech Rosie outlined how during her time as Chair of Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust reviewing complaints was a standing agenda item at Board meetings. Through this process managers were required to act on complaints and the Board members were able to have an oversight of any trends or problems within the hospital.
Speaking after the debate, Rosie said:
“As a society we display a huge and deep faith that the NHS is intrinsically good, and we want unquestioningly to believe that at all times it is acting in our best interests. The findings of the Francis Report shake that faith and belief to its very core.
“The answer is greater accountability and transparency. We need ensure that the interests of the public remain the singular and overriding number one priority not just in the NHS but across all public services.
“At present there is considerable talk about listening more to patients. As the quote on my office wall says – doing the right things does not automatically follow saying the right things. We need to be assured that the warm words on listening to patients from the Health Secretary down become actions.
“Improving the system for handling complaints is one way I believe that we can listen and act on patients concerns. For example, when local resolution of a complaint fails patients should have a right to appeal that decision.
“We can have a situation of just having the NHS investigate itself. This is no way to improve the health service or patients’ confidence that they are the number one priority in the system.
“It is important that this debate on accountability and transparency continues. Not just in Parliament but in the health service, within patient groups and across communities. We are all shareholders in the NHS and we need to make it work better for patients.”