19/10/2023 - Permalink

News from our partners: People often feel confused and let down by responses to their NHS and social care complaints

Related topics: Adult social care / Children's services / Health / Partner organisations

News from our partners Healthwatch Shropshire

A survey looking at people’s experiences of making formal complaints about local NHS or social care services has found that people often come away from the process feeling ‘ignored’ and that they can find the process of making their complaint ‘difficult’ and ‘confusing’.

78 people completed a Healthwatch Shropshire survey, and the responses revealed:-

  • 17 people had considered making a complaint but didn’t, due to feeling like it wouldn’t make a difference (7) or worrying it would affect their care and treatment (5)
  • 12 people were not told when they would receive a response, and 15 people were given a deadline which was then missed by the provider
  • 10 people had waited 7-12 months for a response to their complaint
  • 21 people were ‘not satisfied at all’ with the outcome of their complaint
  • 30 people said they were ‘not confident at all’ or ‘not very confident’ that measures had been put in place to prevent the incident they complained about from happening again

Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Shropshire, said:-

“There is a real opportunity for the NHS and social care providers in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin to work together to make the handling of complaints simpler for people, using the Complaint Standards from the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman as a guide.  Complaints can offer providers valuable information into how their services are being experienced by the people who use them, and we would urge all providers to embrace the feedback they receive and learn from it making improvements that can be evidenced.”

Vanessa Whatley, Director of Quality and Nursing for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care System (ICS), said:-

“We are grateful to those patients and service users who took the time to share their experiences. We are sorry to hear that the experience of complaining is difficult for those who access our services, and who contributed to this report. We will be discussing these findings in depth with health and social care professionals across the system, and those that experience our care, so that we can work together to make the necessary improvements.”

The full report is available on the Healthwatch Shropshire website here:  NHS and Social Care Complaints Report | Healthwatch Shropshire

Healthwatch Shropshire is the independent health and social care champion in Shropshire. It gathers the views and experiences of patients, service users, carers, and the general public about services including hospitals, GPs, mental health services, community health services, pharmacists, opticians, residential care and children’s services. It also has statutory powers that it can use to influence service provision by encouraging improvements.