Which? Survey reveals that only 25 per cent of NHS patients get a satisfactory complaint resolution.

Mon 28th July 2014

A poll of 4,000 people in the UK by Populus for the consumer group Which? has revealed that little progress has been made in UK hospitals since the government-commissioned inquiry into complaints last year led by Labour MP Ann Clwyd. 

As a result of Clwyd’s report ‘Putting patients back into the picture’ hospitals were ordered to publish regular updates on complaints and make it clearer to patients what steps they could take in order to voice their dissatisfaction if they were unhappy with their care. 

However, according the results of the survey, hospitals still have some way to go. More than half respondents felt that their complaint had been ignored - more than in other parts of the public sector – and 43 per cent were ‘dissatisfied’ with the outcome. Tellingly, only four in 10 of those who experienced a problem formalised their complaint. 

“The fact that a quarter of patients were happy with their complaint resolution – up from 16 per cent two years ago – indicates that hospitals have made a marginal improvement but what about the other 75 per cent of patients,” says Paul Clark, CEO of Charter UK. 

“However, it is simply unacceptable that more than half of people who make complaints still feel like they are being ignored or, worse still, that so many who do have a problem are not being encouraged via an open culture to make sure that complaint is progressed through the proper channels. 

“Figures like these are not only shocking, but also remind us that the NHS still has a lot of work to do in order to collect, understand, and act on the feedback it receives every day. The NHS needs to begin this process by collecting every incident of missed expectations by patients, relatives and staff, so that it can aggregate and analyse this data, conduct a root cause analysis and implement a targeted improvement plan. 

“Ultimately, that is how the NHS will achieve the improvements that are needed: by listening to this feedback, learning what is going wrong, and then fixing it.”