The Department of Health has published statistics on complaint issues received by the six Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts and complaints against Family Practitioner Services in Northern Ireland for the year ending 31 March 2018.
This statistical release presents information on complaint issues 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 is also presented on Family Practitioner Services complaints handled by the HSC Board.
The key findings presented in the statistics release are listed below.
Latest Year (2017/18):
- 4,441 complaints, relating to 5,814 complaint issues, were received by HSC trusts in 2017/18 (Tables 1 & 9). This is equivalent to 85 complaints a week or 12 complaints per day
- Over half (3,371, 58.0%) of complaint issues received during 2017/18 related to the Acute POC (Tables 2, Figure 3)
- During 2017/18, over a quarter (1,733, 29.8%) of complaint issues raised were related to the ‘Diagnosis/Operation/Treatment’ category, whilst 737 (12.7%) concerned appointments/waiting times (Table 5)
- Of the 5,814 complaint issues received by HSC Trusts in 2017/18, 625 (10.7%) concerned the ‘Accident & Emergency’ specialty (Table 7)
- Of the 4,441 complaints received in 2017/18, the median age of the patient / client was 49.6 years (Figure 7)
- On average HSC Trusts took 26.7 working days to provide a substantive response to complaints received in 2017/18 (Table 9, Figure 13)
Last Five Years (2013/14 – 2017/18):
- More than a thousand (1,022) fewer complaint issues were received by HSC Trusts in 2017/18 compared to 2013/14, a reduction of 15.0% from 6,836 to 5,814. (Table 1, Figure 2)
- The number of complaint issues decreased in all six HSC Trusts; the Belfast HSC Trust reported the most notable decrease (19.4%), 2,514 in 2013/4 to 2,026 in 2017/18 (Table 1, Figure 2)
- Between 2013/14 and 2017/18, the largest reduction in number of complaint issues (764, 18.5%) was observed in the Acute POC, from 4,135 to 3,371. However, complaint issues relating to the Maternal and Child Health POC increased by 70 (24.1%), from 291 to 361 (Table 3)
- Over the last five years, complaints made against FPS practices (GPs/Dentists/Pharmacists/ Optometrists) in Northern Ireland have fallen by 26.6% (87), from 327 in 2013/14 to 240 in 2017/18 (Table 10, Figure 14)
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 FPS complaints derived from the HSC Board CHB statistical return.
2.This statistical bulletin is based on data collected from the CH8 Revised return and 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.
3. A pilot data collection exercise on compliments paid to Trust staff and services has provided significant evidence that patients have expressed large numbers of compliments regarding their experiences with HSC services, including on the quality of their treatment and care, the attitude and behaviour of staff and satisfaction with the levels of communication and information that they received. The Department hopes to extend this research in order to publish more detailed findings in the near future.
4. All information has been validated with HSC Trusts and HSC Board, and incorporates all returns and amendments received up to 25th June 2018.
Further information on Complaint Issue statistics is available from:
Hospital Information Branch
Department of Health
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