People who use health and care services, or others acting on their behalf, must be confident that providers are listening to and acting on their comments and any complaints about the service they are receiving. They must also be confident that they will not be discriminated against for making a complaint, but that any complaint will be taken seriously and addressed fairly and openly in line with the set procedures. This in turn will increase their choice and control of the services they need. Complaints, therefore, should contribute to improving service quality.

To these ends care service owners and managers must put into place systems to deal with comments and complaints. They should appoint or employ a person or people who can specialise in the handling of any complaint (possibly as part of a wider remit concerning quality assurance and improvements).

Some service users will need help from independent advocates to make their complaint.

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