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Record rise in NHS complaints

26th August 2010

Latest figures show a record number of written complaints about NHS hospital and community services in England.


With more than 100,000 complaints in 2009/2010, the 13.4% increase on the previous year is the biggest annual rise since records began 12 years ago.

The NHS Information Centre statistics show most complaints concerned specialist doctors, nurses, midwives and health visitors.

Separate figures for family health services such as general practice and dentistry show a rise of 4.4% from the previous year to 50,755.

Some 40,000 complaints on hospital services related to clinical treatment, 12,000 letters were written about staff attitude and 11,000 complaints were received about delays or cancellations to outpatient clinics.

While the complaints were at record levels, NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said it was important to bear in mind that there has been a substantial increase in NHS activity in England over time.

He added: “Information from two of our other data collections show that hospital admissions increased by 28% between 1998-99 and 2008-09, while GP consultations increased by an estimated 44% between 1998 and 2008."

The complaints procedure changed last year to make registering dissatisfaction more straightforward.

The Patients Association said it was not surprised by the rise.

Head of its lobby group, Katherine Murphy, said: "This report shows that the NHS still has a long way to go in responding positively to criticism from its users and learning from and implementing change in response to patients' complaints."

Health Minister Paul Burstow said the figures were “the public's verdict of the last Government's NHS record.”


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Article Information

Title: Record rise in NHS complaints
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 15899
Date Added: 26th Aug 2010


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