Complaints Modernisation. Part 2: longer term changes - Reform

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Closes 18 Oct 2021

Background

As a result of the establishment of Manx Care on 1 April 2021, Manx Care now has responsibility for the delivery of health and social care services to service users and patients, whereas the Department is responsible for oversight of the Island’s health and social care system including matters of strategy, planning, finance, regulation and assurance. Each year the Department will require Manx Care to provide a range of services to a specified standard for a certain amount of funding to address the needs of the population of the Isle of Man. This is set out within a document called the Mandate (1)

From 1 April changes were made to the Complaints Regulations (2) and to the complaints handling procedures operated by the Department, Manx Care and the Independent Review Bodies to provide an interim solution to ensure that patients and service users are able to make representations about their care and treatment.

The Department intended to fully overhaul the requirements in relation to health and social care service complaints as part of the Reform Bill. However following a motion by Tynwald in April 2021, the Department now intends to address as many of the issues raised as part of the debate on that motion as possible within changes to Regulations, which are set out in Part 1 of the consultation

Once those changes have been made, the Department intends to make further changes that are only possible by introducing an Act of Tynwald (primary legislation). The proposals for the Bill will learn from and build upon the changes made to the Regulations. This consultation paper provides a summary of the issues that have arisen to date regarding the Department and Manx Care’s complaints policies and procedures that have not been able to be addressed within Regulations.

The reason for bringing in legislative change in stages is that certain changes are only possible by introducing an Act of Tynwald (primary legislation) which takes significantly longer than introducing or amending Regulations (secondary legislation).

The Reform Bill is currently anticipated to be introduced to Tynwald in autumn 2023 based on resource available to the Department, the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Transformation Programme at present. However, efforts are being made to accelerate this work by seeking additional dedicated resource.

Summary of Proposals

This consultation seeks feedback on the Department’s longer-term plans for reform of complaints handling that can only be dealt with in primary legislation (the Reform Bill). It is expected that areas for further consideration will arise from the public consultation process but, at this early stage, some of the key objectives will be to:

  • set out new statutory duties and responsibilities for the organisations handling health or social care complaints on the Island,
  • require the Department to set out a corporate complaints policy,
  • consider whether the Department should be required to set complaints handling quality standards for service providers,
  • consider whether the Department should be able to require all health and social care providers operating in the Island (including private providers) to have a statutory complaints process,
  • create a truly independent adjudicator or Ombudsman for the review of all health and social care complaints, and
  • enhance the ability to access to records relevant to a complaint.
(1) For more information on the split between the Department and Manx Care, see the quick reference guide: https://www.gov.im/media/1372143/redesigned-dhsc-and-manx-care-quick-reference-guide.pdf

(2) The National Health Service (Complaints) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, the National Health Service (Independent Review Body) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, and the Social Services Independent Review Body (Amendment) Regulations 2021