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Complaints process “pointless”

More than two thirds of patients consider the NHS complaints procedure to be pointless, a survey has revealed.

The latest Patients Association (PA) report – in which the survey was published – has described the NHS complaints system as “cumbersome, variable and takes too long.”

The survey of 484 patients found that 69% said they had wanted to complain about the healthcare they had received in the last five years.

For those who complained, 29% described the process as “totally pointless” and only 2% said the experience had been “very useful”.

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More than three quarters (81%) believe staff are not encouraged to report mistakes and that there is not a culture of openness in the NHS when errors occur.

The PA report concluded: “While patients will always accept that errors will occur in any health service, what they will not accept is the fact that staff are not open about admitting such errors occur.”

PA communications director, Katherine Murphy, said: “Every complaint matters. Ignoring complaints results in wasted resources, frustrated patients and the spread of cynicism about the system and its staff.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

Patients Association