Complaints Received By Hsc Trusts, Board and Family Practitioner Services in NI (2016/17)

Date published: 20 July 2017

The Department of Health today published statistics on complaint issues received by the six Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts, the HSC Board and Family Practitioner Services within the north of Ireland for the year ending 31 March 2017.

Statistical press release

This statistical release presents information on complaint issues received by HSC Trusts. It details the number of HSC Trust complaint issues received, by the programme of care (POC), category, subject, specialty of the complaint and the time taken to provide a substantive response.

Key Points

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

Latest Year (2016/17):

  • During 2016/17, HSC Trusts received 4,603 complaints relating to 6,189 complaint issues (Tables 1 & 10, Figure 1).
  • Three fifths (3,703, 59.8%), of complaint issues received during 2016/17 related to the Acute POC (Tables 2 & 3, Figure 3).
  • During 2016/17, over a quarter (1,775, 28.7%) of complaint issues received related to the ‘Diagnosis/Operation/Treatment’ category (Table 6).
  • Over one tenth (684, 11.1%), of complaint issues received by HSC Trusts in 2016/17 related to the ‘Accident & Emergency’ specialty (Table 8).
  • Of the 4,603 complaints received in 2016/17, the median age of the patient / client was 50.0 years (Figure 8).
  • On average HSC Trusts took 24.7 working days to provide a substantive response to complaints received in 2016/17 (Table 10, Figure 14).

Last Five Years (2012/13 – 2016/17):

  • During the last five years, the highest number of complaint issues received by HSC Trusts was in 2014/15 (7,015) and the lowest in 2012/13 (5,998) (Table 1, Figure 2).
  • Between 2012/13 and 2016/17, the number of complaint issues received relating to the Mental Health POC increased by 116 (36.8%), from 315 to 431 (Table 3).
  • The number of complaint issues relating to Prison Healthcare more than halved (63, 57.8%) over the past three years, from 109 in 2014/15 to 46 in 2016/17 (Table 3).
  • Since 2012/13, the number of complaint issues received increased in four of the six HSC Trusts, with Western HSC Trust reporting the most notable increase (439, 74.3%), from 591 to 1,030 in 2016/17. (Table 1, Figure 2).

The information release is published on the Departmental website.


Notes to editors: 

  1. The information detailed in this publication is derived from the Departmental CH8 - Revised statistical return provided by the six HSC Trusts including the Ambulance Service (NIAS). It also includes information on HSC Board and FPS complaints derived from the HSC Board CHB statistical return.
  2. This statistical bulletin is the first to be based on information collected from the CH8 Revised return, which not only collects information previously collected on the POC and subject of the complaint issue in the aggregate CH8 return, but also includes information on: complaint issues received by specialty, age of the patient / client, sex 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. 
  3. All information has been validated with HSC Trusts and Board, and incorporates all returns and amendments received up to 14 July 2016.

Further information on Complaint Issue statistics is available from:

Hospital Information Branch
Department of Health
Annexe 2
Castle Buildings

Tel:                028 90 520064

Fax:               028 90 523288



4. Media queries to DoH Information Office on 028 9052 0579, or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.   

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