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Patients lodge 3,000 complaints a week

  • 9 Comments

Patients lodged 3,000 complaints about their experience of the NHS every week in the past year, figures suggest.

Between 2011 and 2012 there were 162,100 complaints made - just over 3,100 a week - according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Almost half of the complaints made about services in hospitals and community health services were about hospital doctors and surgeons while more than one in five of the complaints were made about nurses, midwives and health visitors.

There were 54,900 written complaints about GP practices and NHS dental services - a rise of 8% on the previous year.

A third of these were based on the decisions, advice and treatment provided by a care professional, according to the HSCIC figures.

NHS Confederation deputy chief executive David Stout said: “An increase in the number of complaints doesn’t necessarily mean that patients are less satisfied with their care. Although it sounds peculiar, a rise in complaints data can actually mean that patients feel more engaged with their local NHS and want to work with it to improve.

“It’s also a sign that patients are confident their concerns will be listened to and acted upon.

“We also need to keep these figures in proportion. The NHS sees more than 1 million patients every 36 hours and performs hundreds of millions of treatments every year, and only a very small proportion of these ever give cause for complaint.

“Nevertheless, in an NHS committed to delivering safe, high-quality services, there must be robust systems in place to learn from occasions where things go wrong, so it is right that NHS organisations are open to hearing from patients about all experiences, good and bad, and make it easy for patients to raise concerns where necessary.”

Care Services minister Paul Burstow said: “If someone is dissatisfied with the NHS services they receive, it is right they complain, and have that complaint properly investigated.

“Like-for-like, NHS hospitals and community health services had 2,200 fewer complaints than the previous year. However, for the first time, all NHS organisations have submitted information about their complaints. This has led to a small rise in the overall number of complaints recorded.

“Our reforms to the NHS will give patients a stronger voice, and the NHS will be more accountable for the quality of care it provides for patients. The new patient champion, HealthWatch, will argue on behalf of patients, helping to drive improvements in the quality of health and social care services.”

  • 9 Comments

Readers' comments (9)

  • shame they don't take staff complaints seriously

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  • Anonymous | 30-Aug-2012 11:25 am

    if staff were listened to, patient complaints would probably be reduced dramatically - in an imaginary ideal world!

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  • what do you expect with the tories in charge!!!

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  • Patients should be encouraged to complain although you might want to call it negative feedback. It is the job of medical management to analyse complaints as well as resolving/correcting faults/errors. It is more important that trusts & practices are audited against national professional standards for processing and utilising post episode/visit information.

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  • Anonymous | 30-Aug-2012 11:25 am

    I suspect that many people who complain - patients or staff - consider that their complaint is not being taken seriously !

    Patrick Newman has got this right - you need to honestly think about the complaint, whatever its source.

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  • wow! that means another post created behined the desk do you fancy the job it not hard work its not 24/7 good pick up and pension seriously or not? that is the ????????

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  • ya it will be done on computer

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  • 'It’s also a sign that patients are confident their concerns will be listened to and acted upon.' - Lot of tosh. My complaint has been mishandled to the extent that its now being presented to the Ombudsman. The NHS I've experianced does not Want to take responsibility or deal appropriately with complaints about it's staff; no matter what they do or who they put at risk.

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  • "“Our reforms to the NHS will give patients a stronger voice, and the NHS will be more accountable for the quality of care it provides for patients. The new patient champion, HealthWatch, will argue on behalf of patients, helping to drive improvements in the quality of health and social care services.”"

    why are so many hc professionals against these reforms?

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