Written complaints against practices reach nearly 50,000 in a year

Almost 50,000 written complaints were made about GP practices in the last financial year, according to official figures, as complaints about hospitals and community providers rose.

A fifth of written complaints about practices related to administration or attitude of staff (Photo: Jason Heath Lancy)
A fifth of written complaints about practices related to administration or attitude of staff (Photo: Jason Heath Lancy)

A total of 47,000 complaints were made about general practice in 2013/14, according to figures published on Thursday by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Of these, 24,400 referred to ‘complaints made against medical services offered at a general practice’, which includes GP appointments and nurse treatments. Another 22,600 complaints were directed towards ‘general practice administration’.

'Clinical issues' were the most common cause for complaint, with a third (36%) of complaints falling under this category. A fifth (20%) related to the ‘communications/attitude’ of practice staff.

Although comparable data for general practice was not available for 2012/13, complaints against hospitals and community care services rose by 4.6% in this period, increasing from 109,316 in 2012/13 to 114,308 in 2013/14.

Written complaints against the NHS as a whole totalled 175,000 in 2013-14, equivalent to 480 a day, the HSCIC said.

Kingsley Manning, chair of the HSCIC, said: ‘Our latest figures show that the NHS is receiving a large number of written complaints each day. I’m sure staff who manage NHS complaints will want to pay close attention to these statistics.’

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