POOR communication, errors in diagnosis and poor treatment top the list of complaints from patients.
A report released by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman shows 29 complaints have been received by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust in the first half of 2014/15. Of those three have been investigated by them and one was fully or partly upheld.
This compared to 600 complaints in 2013/4, with 46 referrals to the ombudsman and six upheld. In all, there have been 12,353 enquiries over the 18 months covered in the report and 44 per cent of those were upheld.
Ombudsman Julie Mellor said they were publishing the data because every complaint presented an ‘opportunity to improve services’.
“We know that poor communication, errors with diagnosis and poor care and treatment are the most common reasons why people complain to us about their hospital treatment. Other common reasons for complaints are staff attitude, no apology when things go wrong and unnecessary delay in treatment.
“We hope NHS leaders use the data in this report to identify themes and recurring problems in order to understand what they have done well and how they can improve their complaint handling.”
Lindsey Webb, the Trust’s chief nursing officer said “Complaints about the NHS are valuable in identifying issues about the way healthcare services are provided and where change and action is needed. Acknowledging these issues and taking steps to rectify any problems identified is vital to improving patient care and the experience of patients and their families.
“We work hard to resolve all concerns from patients and relatives within our hospitals. We thoroughly investigate all complaints and apologise when we have got things wrong. We also encourage patients and families to meet with senior members of our healthcare teams to resolve their concerns and share learning points with our staff.
“We are always striving to improve the way that we manage and respond to patient feedback to ensure we meet the expectations of patients and their families. The fact that only a small proportion of complaints end up being escalated to the ombudsman suggests that we are making progress in this area. Where the ombudsman does uphold any complaint, we ensure that lessons learnt are shared with staff and action is taken to improve our services.”