According to new figures released by the NHS Information Centre the National Health Service is reporting a record rise in the number of complaints it receives. Since the annual data was first published 12 years ago, it is inthe past year that we have seen the largest increase in written complaints about the NHS and community health services.
The data shows there were 89,139 complaints made in 2008/2009 where in 2009/2010 there were 101,077 complaints, this is an increase of just over 13%. Looking back over the years there has been an average annual increase of roughly 1.1%. This figure is an average with some years where we have actually seen a reduction in the number of written complaints further highlighting the significant increase we have seen in the past 12 months.
Looking at the breakdown of data, the largest number of written complaints were towards doctors at 44% of the total number of complaints. A further 22% of complaints were directed at nurses, midwives and health visitors. The reasons for complaints varied however 42% related to clinical treatment followed by a further 12% complaining about the attitude of staff.
It is easy to look at these figures in one dimension and criticise the NHS however we also have to take into account other factors such as the increase in the use of NHS Services. We have both a growing and aging population with substantial increases in NHS services throughout the UK. Looking back over the past 10 years hospital admissions have increased by as much as 28% while it is estimated that GP consultations have increased by an estimated 44% between 1998 and 2008.
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For the Full Report – http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/nhscomplaints0910