Hospital complaints cut by half

Burnley General Hospital. (s)
Burnley General Hospital. (s)

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has seen a reduction in formal complaints by over 50% for the two-year period ending in March.

The number of complaints made to theTrust between April 2014 and March 2016 fell by 52% from 700 to 334.

This showed patient satisfaction with the health services being provided had grown as the Trust sought to place further emphasis on responses to patient concerns.

Some of the key areas which saw significant improvement include the Trust’s Integrated Care Group, incorporating the majority of hospital wards as well as Accident and Emergency services and Urgent Care Centers, which saw the number of complaints fall from 237 to 143 last year alone.

Formal complaints by patients about surgery fell from 210 to 110 in 2015/16, with Director of Nursing, Christine Pearson, saying: “The vast majority of our patients are happy with the care and treatment they receive.”

Particular strides have been made over the past year, with the total number of complaints falling from 559 to 334, representing a decrease of 39%.

While overall patient satisfaction is steadily increasing, Mrs Pearson nevertheless insisted that any issues are encountered are dealt with swiftly, saying: “On occasion, there are issues that require a more detailed investigation or explanation.

“And when these issues arise, the good news is that we are making progress in how we handle these complaints and learn from them for the benefit of patients.

“Almost without exception, the complaints we do receive help us make changes and improvements in how we provide care,” added Mrs Pearson.

Head of Patient Experience, Meg Davey, said the Trust’s process of reacting to any issues has been key, claiming: “One of the main reasons for the reduction is because we now deal with most issues immediately to prevent a problem becoming a complaint.

“More and more, our Customer Relations Team respond to concerns speedily, passing these on to wards and departments quickly.”

Complaints about community health services, including District Nurses, have also fallen signficantly in recent times and have remained extremely low, having seen a drop from 13 to just four since March last year.