Complaints on health service rise 14 per cent

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Indy Politics
COMPLAINTS to health authorities and NHS Trusts rose by another 14 per cent last year to more than 58,000, figures obtained by Alan Milburn, the Labour MP for Darlington, show.

The great bulk were about hospital services and since the NHS reforms were introduced in 1991 patient complaints have risen by 56 per cent in two years, from 37,300 in the year before the system changed.

The figures detailing the number of written complaints come from parliamentary answers provided by Dr Brian Mawhinney, Minister for Health, and reflect similar rises in complaints to the General Medical Council, about family doctors and to the Health Service Ombudsman.

Details of the 7,000 rise last year come as the Government is expected next week to publish the Wilson report recommending a marked simplification and unification of the complaints system, with earlier conciliation aimed at reducing the number of formal complaints made.

Doctors' leaders and others suspect the Patient's Charter and other government initiatives have helped stimulate the marked rise in complaints in recent years, but Mr Milburn said yesterday: 'A record number of patient complaints is an indictment of the Conservatives' running of the NHS.'