NHS complaints rise as research reveals patient concern

28 August 2014

NHS complaints rise as research reveals patient concern

Official data has revealed that the number of complaints made about NHS care in England increased to an average of 480 every day revealing that many patients do not make a complaint because they are not sure about how to complain and who to complain to: this may mean the figure may even be higher.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) undertook research that showed in the past year the number of complaints about NHS care has risen by 8% in 2013-14. These complaints cover NHS patient care ranging from hospital care, dental practice care, GPs and ambulances.

Patients are confused about their rights and options

Mistreatment.com frequently speaks with clients who are often confused about how to make a complaint about medical mistreatment. The specialist complaints advice teams at Mistreatment.com provide patient care options and detail exactly how to make a complaint to those who are confused about what to do and what their patient rights are when something has gone wrong with their care.

In the year 2013-14 a total of 174,900 complaints were made about the NHS. It compared to 162,019 the previous year and 131,022 in the 2007-08 financial year.

The majority of complaints - 34,400 - focused on inpatient hospital care.

The largest percentage increase in complaints regarded ambulance crews - up 28.5% to 5,700.

The tip of the iceberg

Kingsley Manning, the chairman of the HSCIC, said: "Our latest figures show that the NHS is receiving a large number of written complaints each day.

"Today's report also shows a rise over the last year in the number of written complaints made against NHS hospitals and community services.

"I'm sure staff who manage NHS complaints will want to pay close attention to these statistics."

However, the patients' watchdog Healthwatch England suggested the figures may even be higher as many people do not report poor care. Mistreatment.com reflects this position as those who do call through often have done so without knowledge of exactly what their patient rights were before speaking with our specialist teams.

Unreported complaints hide the true picture

The body undertook a survey which suggested that there were 500,000 unreported cases of unsatisfactory patient care across the NHS in the past two years.

Anna Bradley, the chairman of Healthwatch England, said: "The report out today really is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to complaints about health and social care services in this country.

"The need to improve the way the complaints system operates is well documented and we have been working with the government to simplify the often baffling process for patients and their families.

"But for things to work properly, health professionals clearly need to do more to make people feel less intimidated about making their voices heard."

A Department of Health Spokesperson said: "We welcome the fact that more people have felt able to raise their concerns with hospital trusts, as listening to patients is one of the best ways to improve standards and this has been a priority in the wake of the appalling events at Mid Staffs."

What you can do

Have you or a loved one wanted to raise a complaint with the NHS regarding medical mistreatment that has been experienced? Our specialist teams can provide FREE advice about what your options are, whether you want to make a medical negligence claim or medical mistreatment complaint or simply to better understand what your patient rights. You can contact us here today for  a no-obligation and completely free conversation to discuss what happened to you.