Date lodged: 31 January 2019
To ask the Scottish Government what mechanisms there are for patients to complain about food quality in (a) hospitals and (b) social care settings.
Answered by: Jeane Freeman 20 February 2019
In a hospital setting, all patients should complain to the nurse in charge of their ward if they are not happy with the food provided and they should be offered an alternative meal. Patients can also complete a questionnaire as part of the mealtime observations conducted by NHS board staff or through an inpatient experience survey. If the patient is still unhappy, they can address their complaint at a local level through the NHS complaints handling procedure.
The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 and supporting legislation provides a specific right for people to make complaints, raise concerns, make comments and give feedback to NHS Boards. The Act also places a duty on NHS Boards to thoroughly investigate and respond to any concerns raised, to take improvement actions where appropriate and to share learning from the views they receive. .
In Social Care settings, if the level of service that a person or someone they care for is receiving is not up to standard, they should in the first instance to speak to the care service itself about their concerns. If they do not receive a favourable response they can then raise a formal complaint using the relevant local authority’s complaints procedure. They can also choose to complain directly to the Care Inspectorate if the service is being provided on behalf of the local authority, by a private care provider. If they are still unhappy with the outcome, they have the right to ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look into the decision.