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Healthwatch Lancashire mystery shops health and social care organisations to gather information on how to make a complaint

Healthwatch Lancashire has published a mystery shopping report, which summarises the results of a project where Healthwatch Lancashire representatives attempted to find information about how to make a complaint to health and social care organisations within Lancashire.

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Between August and October 2016, Healthwatch Lancashire completed a mystery shopping activity to look at the information provided by health and social care organisations in Lancashire in relation to raising a complaint.

Thirteen Healthwatch Lancashire volunteers and staff contacted 15 organisations. A total of 26 different telephone numbers were called.

The results of the report show that all the representatives felt that, where calls were answered by a member of staff, they were handled in a polite manner.

Most representatives felt that they were provided with sufficient and helpful information to pursue a complaint including being directed to the relevant section of the organisation’s website and/or provided with an email address.

However, the representatives contacting NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group were not provided with a range of options to pursue their complaint.

The report includes three responses provided by Lancashire County Council, East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in relation to how they will improve service users’ experiences following the activity.

Sheralee Turner-Birchall, Chief Officer at Healthwatch Lancashire, said: “Through our programmes of engagement, Healthwatch Lancashire identified an issue with members of the public who use health and adult social care services in accessing information should they wish to make a complaint.

“Healthwatch Lancashire contributes considerable value into the health and social care system by gathering patient and relatives input into the way services are run. This can be invaluable as sometimes seeing services from their point of view opens up real opportunities for improvement that may not have already been considered.

“Healthwatch Lancashire would like to thank Lancashire County Council, East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for their responses to our mystery shopping report.”

The mystery shopping report ‘Making complaints to health and social care organisations within Lancashire’ is available to read online or download on the Healthwatch Lancashire website www.healthwatchlancashire.co.uk/reports