Surveying complainants

The 2013 Francis Inquiry highlighted the need to recognise the importance of patient complaints, and the need to create robust systems and cultures that are able to deal with and learn from them.

The Clwyd-Hart Review made recommendations for how such systems and cultures might be created. The Government response to these reports, Hard Truths,  identified a need for a standardised way of assessing complainants’ experiences. NHS England was asked by the Department of Health to take this work forward in conjunction with system partners.

NHS England and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) commissioned the Picker Institute to develop a model survey to measure complainants’ experiences across health and social care, building on ‘My Expectations’, a set of quality standards for complaint handling devised by the PHSO and Healthwatch England.

In addition, Picker produced a suite of tools to support the use of the survey. Both survey and toolkit were co-designed and tested with a group of stakeholders including providers, the Care Quality Commission, PHSO, Healthwatch, the Local Government Ombudsman and advocacy groups.

Complaints survey toolkit

The survey and toolkit aim to:

  • Track the quality of complaints handling, as set out in ‘My Expectations’
  • Support organisations to survey complainants’ experience
  • Support improvements to local systems and complaints handling

NHS England worked with a number of pilot sites to understand their experience of using the survey and associated toolkit. The final survey and the case studies have been produced based on organisations’ experiences.

It is important to note that as of 28 May 2018 to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation, which will replace the Data Protection Act 1998, individuals will have to opt into the survey and should not be sent a survey unless they have done so.

Case studies

View case studies from Trusts that have used the survey.

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding implementation of the survey in your organisation please contact: