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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round of NHS and healthcare stories

Unresolved NHS complaints double

The number of people asking for their NHS complaint to be independently reviewed because local health services failed to resolve it has doubled in the past year, according to new Healthcare Commission (HC) figures. The body, which handles complaints that NHS trusts cannot resolve, received over 8,000 requests for an independent assessment in the 12 months to August 2005 as opposed to only 3,700 in 2003/04. "It is worrying that so many of the NHS complaints that come to us ñ over one in three ñ are having to go back to the NHS to be put right," said Marcia Fry, HC head of operational development. The HC is urging the NHS to resolve more cases at local level and has called on NHS trusts to provide important information quickly.

Nurses attack PCT reforms

Nurses are planning legal action against the government over its plans to strip primary care trusts of much of their role in providing services. The reforms, Commissioning a Patient-led NHS, would allow private firms to provide community services such as district nursing and chiropody. The Royal College of Nursing is seeking a judicial review of the move, as the government failed to consult before announcing the policy in July. Last week health secretary Patricia Hewitt was criticised for failing to announce the reforms to parliament. The Health Select Committee has also announced it is to carry out an investigation of the proposals.

Government should be more hands-off, says Monitor chairman

The chairman of Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, Bill Moyes, has urged the Department of Health to be more hands-off in its relationship with the NHS. Speaking at the sixth annual healthcare conference, organised by healthcare analysts LCS International Consulting, he said that the government had to more clearly define the financial status of foundation trusts. He said that at the moment trusts were deemed either financially viable or "on the cliff edge of insolvency" and suggested that an interim "special administration" stage should be set up before trusts were declared insolvent

30th September 2008

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