The NHS receives 480 written complaints per day

The NHS receives 480 written complaints per day

 Almost 175,000 reported complaints made in 2013-14

The number of reported written complaints3 made to the NHS reached 174,9004 in 2013-14 – the equivalent of 480 per day5, new figures show.

Data on written complaints in the NHS, published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), covers complaints made about NHS hospitals and community health services and family health services (GP and dental practices) in 2013-14.

The new figures show that complaints made against NHS hospitals and community health services in England totalled 114,300 in 2013-14- a 4.6 per cent rise on 2012-13 (109,300) and the equivalent of an extra 96 complaints each week. The number of reported written complaints about family health services was 60,6004.

NHS par sign

NHS hospitals and community health services

The highest increase in complaints across professions was for ‘ambulance crews (including paramedics)’, which was 28.5 per cent higher in 2013-14 (5,700) than in 2012-13 (4,440). Complaints about transport, including ambulances, increased by 43.4 per cent, from 2,740 in 2012-13 to 3,940 in 2013-14.

The report also shows that in 2013-14, of the 114,300 complaints made about NHS hospitals and community health services:

  • The service area with the highest number of complaints was ‘inpatient hospital acute services’, with 34,400 (30.1 per cent) – a decrease of 1.3 per cent from 2012-13 (34,900). This was followed by ‘outpatient hospital acute services’ at 31,100 (27.2 per cent), ‘mental health services’ at 12,200 (10.7 per cent) and ‘A&E hospital acute services’ at 9,920 (8.7 per cent).
  • The medical profession – which includes hospital doctors and surgeons – was the profession with the highest number of complaints at 52,100 (45.6 per cent). This was followed by ‘nursing, midwifery and health visiting’ at 24,800 (21.7 per cent).
  • The subject area7 with the highest number of complaints was ‘all aspects of clinical care’ at 52,300 (45.6 per cent) followed by ‘attitude of staff’ at 13,300 (11.6 per cent) and ‘communication/information to patients’ at 11,500 (10.0 per cent).

Family health services

In 2013-14, of the 60,600 complaints made about family health services:

  • The service area with the highest number of complaints was ‘medical’8, with 24,400 (40.3 per cent). This was followed by ‘general practice administration’ at 22,600 (37.4 per cent) and ‘dental’ at 6,970 (11.5 per cent).
  • The subject area with the highest number of complaints was ‘clinical’8, with 22,200 (36.3 per cent) followed by ‘communications/attitude’ with 13,300 (21.7 per cent) and ‘administration’ with 12,500 (20.4 per cent).

Kingsley Manning, Chair 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.”

You can view the full report at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/nhscomplaints1314

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