Complaints and Compliments Received by HSC Trusts in Northern Ireland (2023/24)

Date published: 11 July 2024

The Department of Health today published statistics on complaint issues and compliments received by the six Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts during 2023/24.

Latest statistics text on plain background

It also includes information on complaints against Family Practitioner Services in Northern Ireland for the year ending 31March 2024.

This statistical release presents information on complaint issues and compliments received by HSC Trusts. It details the number of HSC Trust complaint issues received, the programme of care (POC), category, subject and specialty of the complaint issue, along with the time taken to provide a substantive response to complaints received.  Information on compliments received by HSC Trusts provides details on the subject of the compliment and method by which the compliment was received. Information is also presented on Family Practitioner Services complaints handled by the SPPG Complaints Team.

Key Points:

The key findings presented in the statistics release are listed below.

Latest Year (2023/24)

  • A total of 4,779 complaints, relating to 8,375 complaint issues, were received by HSC Trusts in 2023/24 (Table 1); equating to 92 complaints per week or approximately 13 complaints per day. Over half (4,365, 52.1%) of complaint issues received during 2023/24 related to the ‘Acute’ POC (Table 2, Figure 3). During 2023/24, the highest number (1,719, 20.5%) of complaint issues related to a patient’s ‘Quality of Treatment & Care’ (Table 4).
  • The highest percentage of complaint issues received in 2023/24 related to the ‘Accident & Emergency’ specialty (993, 11.9%) (Table 7).
  • Of the 4,779 complaints received, the median age of the patient / client was 51.1 years (Figure 9).
  • On average HSC Trusts took 33.1 working days to provide a substantive response to complaints received in 2023/24 (Table 9, Figure 14).
  • During 2023/24, 36,530 compliments (via card, email, feedback form, care opinion, letter, social media or telephone) were received by HSC Trusts in Northern Ireland (Table 16, Figure 22).
  • Of the 36,530 compliments received by HSC Trusts, 16,468 (45.1%) related to ‘Quality of Treatment & Care’, 9,990 (27.3%) to ‘Staff Attitude & Behaviour’, 4,807 (13.2%) to ‘Information & Communication’, 2,572 (7.0%) to ‘Environment’, and 2,693 (7.4%) to ‘Other’ subjects (Table 16, Figure 21).

Last Five Years (2019/20 – 2023/24)

  • Since 2019/20, the number of complaint issues received by HSC Trusts increased from 6,105 to 8,375 in 2023/24 (Table 1, Figure 2).
  • Over the last five years, all six HSC Trusts reported an increase in the number of complaint issues received; with the largest increase (201.1%) reported by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) (Table 1, Figure 2). 
  • Between 2019/20 and 2023/24, the largest increase in the number of complaint issues (789, 22.1%) was reported in the ‘Acute’ POC (3,576 to 4,365) (Table 3).
  • Complaint’s’ issues relating to Family Practitioner Services decreased (30, 14.3%) in 2023/24 compared to the 2019/20 year (Table 10, Figure 15).

The information release is published on the Departmental website:  https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/articles/complaints-statistics

Notes to editors: 

  1. The information detailed in this publication is derived from two separate statistical returns provided by the six HSC Trusts including the Ambulance Service (NIAS), (i) complaints, and (ii) compliments received by HSC Trusts. It also includes information on FPS complaints derived from the SPPG Complaints Team CH8 statistical return.
  1. This statistical bulletin provides information on the number of HSC Trust complaint issues received, the programme of care (POC), category, subject and specialty of the complaint issue.  For complaints received it also provides details on the age of the patient / client, gender of the patient / client, relationship of the complainant to the patient / client, the method of complaint and the average number of working days to provide a substantive response to a complaint.
  1. Information on compliments received by HSC Trusts reports on the subject of the compliment and method by which the compliment was received.
  1. All information has been validated with HSC Trusts and SPPG Complaints Team, and incorporates all returns and amendments received up to 26 June 2024.
  1. Further information on Complaint Issue statistics is available from:
    Hospital Information Branch
    Department of Health
    Annexe 2, Castle Buildings
    Stormont, BT4 3SQ
    Email: statistics@health-ni.gov.uk

6. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by e-mail: pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk

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8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

 

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