Call for 'people's ombudsman' to prevent Mid Staffs repeat

The "outdated" public services watchdog should be overhauled to help prevent another Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal, MPs have said. The Public Administration Committee wants to see a more responsive "People's Ombudsman".

MPs: Current ombudsman 'way behind the times'

The existing watchdog for public services, The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), is "way behind the times", according to a group of MPs.

The Public Administration committee called for a tougher watchdog to be set up in order to prevent a repeat of the Mid Staffordshire scandal, in which hundreds of patients needlessly died due to poor care.

PHSO is part of our service to our constituents, and it's way behind the times.

Our voters have a right to complain about public services when mistakes, misunderstandings and maladministration occur.

We so often see that people complain not for their own benefit, but to ensure lessons are learned and the same mistakes are not inflicted on others.

As we recently reported, the disaster at the Mid-Staffs hospital is a tragic example of what happens when the complaints system does not work...

An effective ombudsman service can help bring about the change in attitude, behaviour and leadership we need.

– Bernard Jenkin

'People's ombudsman' needed to stop next Mid Staffs

The "outdated" public services ombudsman should be binned to help prevent a repeat of the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal, a group of MPs have said.

Ombudsman
The ombudsman should be able to receive complaints online, MPs said. Credit: PA

Read: Calls for review after new neglect claims at Welsh hospital

The Public Administration Committee wants to see a more responsive "People's Ombudsman" set up and given tougher investigative powers.

It is estimated between 400 to 1200 patients died unnecessarily at Mid Staffs due to poor care and lack of attention from healthcare staff.

In a report published by the Public Administration Committee, MPs recommended a direct line of complaint to the new-style watchdog, so whistleblowers would not have to go through their MP.

The ombudsman should also be allowed to receive complaints in person or online, instead of solely in writing as is currently the case, and initiate its own probes into areas of concern.

Read: Hunt: Mid Staffs scandal 'a turning point like Chernobyl'

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