NHS complaints on the increase

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WIGAN’S NHS services received more than 1,300 complaints last year the latest figures have revealed.

All five of Wigan’s health trust racked up 1,351 official complaints last year - an average of nearly four a day.

However, while NHS Ashton Leigh Wigan (now Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group) the 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust all saw a decrease in the number of complaints from the previous year, both the ambulance service and the hospitals trust saw increases.

Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) saw complaints rise from 473 in 2011/12 to 486 in 2012/13, a rise of 2.7 per cent.

However, the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) saw the largest increase in complainants from 386 to 474 - a rise of 22.8 per cent.

A North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust spokesperson commented: “The Trust actively encourages all of its service users to provide both positive and negative feedback about their experiences.”

The new figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) showed a very slight decrease in the number of complaints since last year, with the majority made against hospitals and community health services. Doctors and surgeons attracted a disproportionate number of complaints – far more than nurses, who represent a much larger proportion of the NHS workforce.

A spokesperson for WWL said: “WWL acknowledge that there has been a small rise in complaints received (13) in the last financial year. We value and encourage all our service users to provide us with feedback about their experiences, both positive and negative. The rise in the number of complaints we have received (2.7 per cent) is reflective of the regional and national increase.

“We wish to assure patients, relatives and carers that all complaints are investigated with a view to learning and making improvements.”