Sunday, 21 September 2008

NHS complaints system 'pointless'

More than two thirds of patients believe the NHS complaints procedure is pointless, a survey said.

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."

Of the patients polled, 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".

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

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."

On the matter of recent MRSA outbreaks and other healthcare acquired infections 47% of patients pointed the finger of blame at the NHS trust managers.

Both nurses and cleaning staff were blamed by 16% of respondents, whilst only 10% thought doctors were responsible.

Three quarters (75%) of respondents believe trust in doctors and nurses has decreased compared to five years ago.

As a result, 96% said they believed patients question the actions of doctors and nurses more than they used to half a decade ago.

article here