Annual Report 2014
Introduction by the ISCAS Manager, Charlie Evans
The Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS) is the recognised complaints management framework in the independent healthcare sector. ISCAS is a voluntary membership scheme that represents the vast majority of all independent healthcare providers across the UK. The ISCAS Complaints Code of Practice (the Code) sets out the standards that ISCAS members agree to meet when handling complaints from privately-funded (insured or self-paying) patients about their services.
The Code is a three stage process which focuses on local resolution wherever possible: Stage 1 – Local Resolution Stage 2 – Complaint Review Stage 3 – Independent Adjudication
Independent Adjudication affords those complainants using ISCAS member hospitals and clinics an independent review process for complaints that cannot be resolved locally. ISCAS members using the Code clearly demonstrate a commitment to providing a quality service. Complaints from NHS-funded patients treated in an ISCAS member hospital or clinic are handled according to the NHS Complaints Procedure. Underpinning the ISCAS Code is a commitment to value complainants for the feedback they provide and to bring about quality improvements.
In the coming year ISCAS will review the May 2013 version of the Code. This will involve consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including patient representatives/patient organisations, ISCAS members, adjudicators, the ISCAS Governance Board, professional and system regulators.
Throughout 2014 improving the quality of complaints handling by providers has been a key driver for ISCAS. We have worked with members to improve processes for handling and investigating complaints. During the year ISCAS identified that weaknesses in the initial investigation stage were a recurring theme and that such failings can lead to protracted and costly complaints resolution. ISCAS will continue to work with members to address this and other issues in 2015.
In December 2014, ISCAS launched a quarterly newsletter which includes key messages from the Adjudicator and the ISCAS Management Team; best practice stories from members and information on the latest policy issues for complaints handling. Member training seminars covering a wide range of topics are planned for 2015 with the first scheduled to take place in February.
Ensuring that patients are informed is a key priority and during the year ISCAS restructured and simplified its website to provide clear information for complainants about what ISCAS can and cannot do. The website has a number of useful publications, including the Patient Guide, Adjudicators’ Goodwill Payment Guide and the ISCAS Code of Practice.
Over the year ISCAS acquired five new members bringing the total to 58. Many organisations have a large number of hospital services in their corporate membership of ISCAS and the current total of individual members is 234.
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