Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Patients fear being victimised when they complain to NHS and those who raised concerns were confronted by hostile staff

Patients who dare to complain about poor NHS care are made to feel frightened and left exhausted and disheartened, a report warns. Many of those who raised concerns were confronted by hostile staff who denied doing anything wrong. Others said they feared that pursuing the complaint would cause staff to treat them even worse out of spite.  The Patients Association report found that half of complaints were not handled well and warned that the culture of secrecy in the NHS had barely changed since the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal, in which hundreds died due to neglect. An inquiry 18 months ago led by Sir Robert Francis QC called for sweeping reforms to the Health Service to make it more transparent. But the charity says that, based on patients’ experiences, there is little evidence of a culture shift.  Figures show that more than 3,300 complaints are made against NHS hospitals and GP surgeries by patients and their families every week – up by 5 per cent in a year, partly because the public are becoming more inclined to speak up. The Patients Association surveyed 1,200 people who had all complained about poor care experienced by themselves or a loved-one. Nearly half said the issue was poorly handled and a quarter said staff were unhelpful or defensive. Half were concerned that following up the complaint would make staff deliberately treat them or their loved-ones badly

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Copy and paste the link to download The Patients Association New Complaints Charter

One year on from the Clwyd-Hart report, NHS complaints system still not fit for purpose, despite numerous calls for reform.

Complaints distressing, difficult and frequently produce little result, say patients…



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