Complaints about Derriford Hospital rise for the first time in four years
WRITTEN complaints about Derriford Hospital have risen for the first time in four years.
The hospital recorded 733 complaints during 2011/12, according to a report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
The figure rose from the previous year's 703 and is the first increase since 2007/08.
Managers called the 4.3 per cent hike 'disappointing'.
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But they said figures have dropped overall in the past six years, from a high of 944 in 2005/06.
The national report reveals that nationally around 3,100 written complaints about the NHS were lodged every week in the past year across England.
Almost half were about hospital doctors and surgeons while more than one in five of the complaints were made about nurses, midwives and health visitors.
Jayne Glynn, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust patient experience manager, said Derriford has improved complaints handling in the past year to obtain patient feedback more quickly and easily.
She said: "We recognise that complaints are a valuable source of feedback for us.
"We recognise that there is still more work to be done and it is disappointing to note that we had a small rise in the number of written complaints received between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012 compared to the previous year.
"We are working closely with patient representatives and organisations such as Plymouth LINk and the Patient Association, to continue to improve our processes and to provide our patients with the best experience we can give them."
She added the hospital also records hundreds of letters of thanks received from our patients and their relatives.
Derriford, one of the largest hospitals in the country, sees around 800,000 patients a year.
According to the report Plymouth Primary Care Trust's (PCT) figure dropped from 190 in 2010 to just three in 2011/12.
The dramatic drop is due to services transferring to community interest company Plymouth Community Healthcare (PCH) amid NHS reforms.
PCH recorded 150 written complaints in 2011/12.
Nationally, just over 162,100 were made about the NHS in 2011/12.
Although this in an eight per cent rise from the previous year, the comparison is skewed by 23 NHS Foundation Trusts submitting data in 2011/12 but not for the previous year.
Comparing the 501 NHS organisation – 350 NHS trusts and 151 Primary Care Trusts – which reported data for both years, the rise was just over one per cent.
David Stout, NHS Confederation deputy chief executive, said: "An increase in the number of complaints doesn't necessarily mean that patients are less satisfied with their care. Although it sounds peculiar, a rise in complaints data can actually mean that patients feel more engaged with their local NHS and want to work with it to improve."