NHS Urged To Learn Lessons From Complaints

HSCIC Figures Shed Light On Grievances Raised About Health Services


Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell have called on the NHS to take every possible step to learn lessons from the 3,000 complaints lodged by the public every week, with a view to improving the overall experience and care that patients receive.

According to new figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), 162,100 complaints were made about NHS services in 2011/12 with around half of those linked to hospitals and community health being related to doctors and surgeons.

In addition, 54,900 written complaints were made in relation to GP practices and NHS dental services, with many of them about decisions, advice and treatment provided by the professionals.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist team of medical negligence experts represent people who have suffered serious injury as a result of errors in treatment and care in the NHS, as well as families who have lost loved ones due to such problems.

Mandy Luckman, a Partner with vast expertise in medical law and patients’ rights at the firm’s Birmingham office, said: “It is a concern to see 3,000 complaints being lodged regarding NHS services, but it must be acknowledged that millions of patients receive treatment every year.

“However, it is still very important that each of these complaints is always handled and investigated in the best possible manner, with a view to ensuring that lessons can be learned which will improve patient safety as well as the overall quality of service that people can access.

“We regularly see the terrible consequences that mistakes and problems in treatment can have on both victims and their families, often leaving many people with injuries from which they never fully recover.

“This complaints system provides a chance for patients to get their voices heard and it is vital that the health service acts upon all concerns raised to ensure that standards of care remain as high as possible.”