Last year (2014/15), the Scottish Health Service had a 0.05% complaint rate, according to Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland – published at the end of September 2015.
Specifically, taking all hospital visits (including A&E visits) together with all GP, outpatient, dental and ophthalmic appointments into consideration, a total of 22,417 complaints were made by patients across Scotland.
While that may sounds encouraging, things perhaps aren't quite as rosy as the figures seem to indicate.
With 22,417 complaints, there was actually a 9% increase in the number of complaints over the last twelve months and with prisoner complaints rising from 3,018 to 4,277 (41%) over the same period, the overall rise in the number of NHS complaints is thought to be largely as a direct result of said prisoner complaints.
There was also in an increase in the number of complaints being fully upheld.
Positively, total response times improved, with the following being dealt with within 20 days:
Commenting, Scotland’s Health Secretary, Shona Robison, stated:
“In the overwhelming majority of cases the NHS does a fantastic job. However, in an organisation of this size, which deals with such a vast and increasing number of patients, there will be occasions when people’s experiences of the NHS do not meet their expectations. When that happens boards must listen to and act on that feedback. Indeed, we want and need to hear the views of patients, in particular when things go wrong, so we can learn and do better the next time.
“The number of complaints we are seeing reflects a better awareness of how people can give feedback and make a complaint – and confidence that their complaint will be listened to and acted on. It shows that our work to ensure our NHS is open, transparent and able to learn from mistakes is paying off.
“Prisoners have the same right to make complaints as every other patient and over the last two years prisoners have been able to better access the complaints procedure. This has driven some of the increases we have seen in complaints over the last two years.
“It is also true that our NHS is busier than ever before and we all demand the highest possible quality service when either ourselves or our loved ones receive treatment. That is why we are investing record amounts and have record staffing levels in place to ensure our NHS gets it right and delivers the kind of high quality treatment we rightly demand for every patient.”
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