Dorset GP's receive more than 1,000 written complaints

Dorset GP's receive more than 1,000 written complaints

Published by George Sharpe at 12:42pm 20th September 2019.

New figures show that 1,074 written complaints were made against doctors' surgeries in the NHS Dorset CCG in 2018-19.

GP's were the subject of 41% of those complaints and most of those were related to communication between patients and surgeries.

1,055 complaints were resolved. Of those, some were carried forward or left until the next year, 44% were fully upheld, and 15% partially upheld.

One GP surgery, Christchurch Medical Practice, received 150 written complaints last year. All of them were fully upheld.

The most common reason for complaints against GP surgeries in the area was communication.

Doctors are too stretched to spend enough time with patients, according to the British Medical Association.
Doctors are too stretched to spend enough time with patients, according to the British Medical Association.

Across England, many complaints related to difficult communication with surgeries, with the British Medical Association saying issues are caused by doctors too stretched to spend enough time with patients.

The British Medical Association’s GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, said:

“This survey shows much of the dissatisfaction felt by patients stems from communication problems, rather than clinical errors, and doctors know that they simply don’t have enough time to spend with their patients and cope with rising demand, with the risk that communication issues could arise.

“All clinicians want to do their jobs safely, but need the time, resources and funding to be able to do that.”

What about Hospital Trusts?

Hospital trusts in Dorset received 634 complaints over the same period of time. 

Stephen Churchill,  Complaints and PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) Coordinator at Dorset HealthCare, said: 

"We want our services to be the best they can be. We welcome complaints as they help us understand how people experience our services and give us the opportunity to improve the quality and safety of the care we provide.  

Good complaint handling means listening to patients, carers and families, taking their concerns very seriously and responding promptly and sensitively.  

Where things have gone wrong, it is important that we acknowledge mistakes, apologise and put things right as quickly as possible.  Doing this helps us to deliver the high quality, patient centred care that all our staff are committed to."

Alison Male, Patient and Public Engagement Lead for Dorset County Hospital said:

"Dorset County Hospital received 301 formal complaints in the past year. This is an 18 per cent increase from the previous year however, formal complaints account for only 0.08 per cent of our patient contacts this year.

"Most complainants get in touch because they want us to learn from their experience and we welcome that opportunity. 

"During the last quarter of the year we are pleased to report the Trust achieved the 95 per cent target in the timeliness of complaint responses."

Tim Goodson, NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group Chief Officer, said:

“Most NHS treatment and care goes well, and the NHS strives for no complaints. However, if people are unhappy with the care or services they have received, it is important to let us know so that we can improve. Feedback helps to improve the quality of care. 

“It is important to remember that thousands of patients use our NHS services each day. The number of complaints are a very small percentage of this, and this is thanks to the brilliant work of our wonderful NHS staff and volunteers.”