Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

It’s so difficult to complain about the NHS that patients give up trying: Thousands put off lodging formal grievance as they fear it may lead to reprisals against relatives

Hospital patients are so confused by NHS complaints procedures that many do not bother to speak out at all, a report warns today. Thousands are put off lodging a formal grievance by baffling systems or concerns that their gripes will lead to reprisals against a loved one, say watchdogs. A review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) also pointed to poor complaint handling, slow investigations and patients not being taken seriously as key areas of concern in hospitals. It said complainants were met ‘too often’ with a defensive culture rather than one that listens and is willing to learn. But it is also worried about ‘very few’ complaints over adult social care and primary care, which could indicate the lack of an open culture in which concerns are welcomed.

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The boss of the NHS in England, Simon Stevens, has admitted that services are under pressure across the NHS. He added that the health service has to get serious about preventing illness in the first place.

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