Doctors are more willing to speak up about poor medical practice

Doctors are more willing to speak up about poor medical practice

Doctors made 10% of the complaints we received in 2012, of which almost half met our threshold for investigation.

One of the main lessons for the health service over the past 18 months has been the importance of doctors speaking up when things go wrong. The findings from our report, The state of medical education and practice in the UK: 2013, highlight a welcome change of culture in the medical profession where doctors are more willing to speak up about poor medical practice.

Complaints continue to increase

The number of complaints about doctors has been growing since 2007 and this trend continued in 2012. We received 8,109 complaints in 2012, marking a 24% increase since 2011 and a 104% increase since 2007.

But this does not mean that standards of medical practice are getting worse. Higher expectations from patients, better clinical governance systems and greater willingness to raise concerns could all contribute to the rise.

The public faces challenges navigating the complaints system

The public is an important source of complaints – in 2012, 989 complaints from the public met our threshold for a full investigation, which is more than the number from doctors and employers combined.

But they made over 5,000 complaints, meaning that we investigated only 20% (see figure below). This compares with 48% of complaints from doctors and 84% from employers, highlighting the challenges that patients face when making a complaint about their doctor. Many of these complaints should be investigated at a local level, through the patient’s GP practice or local hospital.

More needs to be done to help patients understand where to go to make a complaint and ra ising concerns about poor care and treatment should be made much easier.

Doctors are more willing to speak up about poor medical practice

Doctors made 10% of the complaints we received in 2012, of which almost half met our threshold for investigation.

One of the main lessons for the health service over the past 18 months has been the importance of doctors speaking up when things go wrong. The findings from our report, The state of medical education and practice in the UK: 2013, highlight a welcome change of culture in the medical profession where doctors are more willing to speak up about poor medical practice.

Complaints continue to increase

The number of complaints about doctors has been growing since 2007 and this trend continued in 2012. We received 8,109 complaints in 2012, marking a 24% increase since 2011 and a 104% increase since 2007.

But this does not mean that standards of medical practice are getting worse. Higher expectations from patients, better clinical governance systems and greater willingness to raise concerns could all contribute to the rise.

The public faces challenges navigating the complaints system

The public is an important source of complaints – in 2012, 989 complaints from the public met our threshold for a full investigation, which is more than the number from doctors and employers combined.

But they made over 5,000 complaints, meaning that we investigated only 20% (see figure below). This compares with 48% of complaints from doctors and 84% from employers, highlighting the challenges that patients face when making a complaint about their doctor. Many of these complaints should be investigated at a local level, through the patient’s GP practice or local hospital.

More needs to be done to help patients understand where to go to make a complaint, and raising concerns about poor care and treatment should be made much easier.

source: http://www.gmc-uk.org/publications/23461.asp?dm_i=OUY,1WORF,3F996V,6UEGO,1

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