NHS complaints soar to seven-year high
COMPLAINTS about the NHS in Scotland have reached a seven-year high, prompting claims that the service is “buckling under the pressure” of cutbacks.
There has been a 15 per cent rise in hospital and community complaints to 8,117 in 2011-12, official statistics revealed yesterday. That equates to 22 per day.
This compares with 7,055 the year before and represents the largest annual increase since 2005. More than 6,000 complaints were about hospitals, which saw a 20 per cent rise.
Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “As cuts to resources and staffing bite, the number of complaints will only continue to increase. The NHS is buckling under the pressure that the SNP is putting on it and, with thousands of fewer nurses and midwives, it is unsurprising that complaints are now at record levels.”
She added that last week’s Budget will mean £190 million of cuts in the next three years.
Ms Baillie added: “The SNP have taken their eye off the
ball and are wrongly focused on the referendum on breaking up Britain.”
The largest increase in complaints was in NHS Lothian, which saw a 31 per cent increase, followed by NHS Forth Valley (29 per cent) and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (27 per cent).
Accident and emergency complaints rose by more than a quarter, day-cases complaints rose 24 per cent, outpatient complaints rose 22 per cent and inpatients by 14 per cent.
Issues involving treatment made up 36 per cent of complaints, while staffing issues were responsible for 33 per cent of complaints.
Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “As the SNP slashes nursing and midwifery numbers, the level of complaints rises. This is despite promises, when it embarked on these efficiency savings, that there would be no detriment to the front line.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said patients had previously been “reluctant” to complain, according to research.
He said the new Patient Rights Act now provided all patients with a right to raise concerns about healthcare they received.
He added: “Revised guidance will ensure that local processes are developed to encourage, welcome and view feedback, whether good or bad, as opportunities for improvement and to ensure the NHS provides person-
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