Hospital Dr News

NHS complaints on the rise as demand for services grows, data shows

There were 208,400 written complaints received by the NHS during 2016/172 – up 4.9% on the previous year, figures show.

The figures, from NHS Digital, mean on average 571 written complaints were made every day.

The report, entitled Data on Written Complaints in the NHS, 2016/17, shows numbers of complaints about both primary and secondary care.

It shows a 9.7% increase in written complaints to GP and dental practices compared with the previous year. In 2016/17, there were 90,600 primary care complaints, up from 82,600 in 2015/16.5

The report shows there was a 1.4% year-on-year increase in secondary care complaints with 117,800 complaints received in 2016/17, up from 116,200 in 2015/1611, but a smaller proportion of resolved secondary care complaints were fully upheld than the previous year.

In 2016/17, 35.8% (40,100) of secondary care complaints were fully upheld, compared with 38.5% (39,800) in 2015/16. The number of complaints partially upheld increased from 26.4% (27,300) in 2015/16 to 28.9% (32,300) in 2016/17.6

The areas with the highest overall percentage increases in all written complaints were: Lancashire, which had 5,300 complaints compared with 4,600 the previous year – a 14.6% increase; and, the West Midlands, which had 14,400 complaints compared with 13,000 the previous year – an 11.1% increase.

The total number of complaints fell in the South Central region, which had 11,500 complaints compared with 12,200 the previous year – down 6.2%.

The report provides a breakdown of secondary care complaints by profession, showing the medical profession were the subject of 66,500 (41.1%) of the 161,700 written complaints made involving a profession. This is an increase of 7.4% compared with 2015/16 when the number totalled 61,900.

The nursing profession received the second highest number of written complaints with 36,800 (22.7% of all complaints involving a profession), an increase of 9.8% on last year’s total of 33,500.

Dr Pallavi Bradshaw, Senior Medicolegal Adviser at the Medical Protection Society, commented: “While 571 written complaints against the NHS every day may sound worrying to patients and disheartening to hard working healthcare professionals, it is important to set this against the context of 1 million patients being seen every 36 hours in the NHS. Patient satisfaction, standards and quality all remain high, and this is despite an increasingly challenging working environment.

“Good complaints handling procedures are crucial in helping to ensure complaints are resolved effectively, locally and without the need for legal recourse.”

Bookmark and Share

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation