By: 27 November 2014
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has to deal with 12,353 complaints in 18 months

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has revealed that it received 12,353 enquiries from complainants about hospital trusts over an 18 month period.

The Ombudsman, which is the final stage in the complaints process after people have complained to the NHS, has detailed the complaints in a report published on 26 November which also shows that the top three reasons for hospital complaints are poor communication, errors in diagnosis and poor treatment.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor said that she hoped that NHS leaders would use the report’s data to understand how they could improve their complaints handling.

“These results should remind the NHS about the need for a more personalised approach to care that welcomes feedback, rather than becoming defensive. It is this culture change that is needed if services are to be improved for everyone,” she said.

Complaints varied widely between NHS trusts. For example. central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust was the subject of 382,999 incidents and 1,192 complaints that led to 120 reports to the Ombudsman.

By contrast, Barts Health NHS Trust in London topped the league with 2,451 grievances lodged after 579,271 incidents, 12% of which were upheld.

The most satisfied patients appeared to be at The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases NHS Foundation Trust in Bath. Only 12 complaints were made to the ombudsman during 2013 to 2014.

Mark Pickering, a senior medical negligence litigator for Asons Solicitors said the statistics demonstrates the challenges which people and families faced when confronted with medical negligence.

“The lack of investigations made, and complaints that are actually upheld, clearly demonstrates the need to instruct experienced medical negligence lawyers from the start,”he said.