Patients are complaining about the NHS more than ever, official figures revealed today.
More than 225,000 complaints have been written about Britain’s poor health service in 2021/22.
This is up from nearly 210,000 the year before Covid hit and more than 160,000 in 2011/12, when records began to be recorded.
Communication, clinical treatment, staff attitudes and behavior, and patient care were the areas of greatest complaint.
It comes amid huge pressures in the NHS, which is bracing for its ‘toughest winter ever’.
Backlogs have accumulated to an all-time high, with performance in A&E and ambulance response times dropping to record lows.
More than 225,000 written complaints were written about poor health service in 2021/22
The threat of a strike is lurking and a ‘triple pandemic’ of Covid, flu and other seasonal viruses could cause more misery for the health service this winter.
The total number of NHS complaints has increased every year, with the exception of 2015/16 and 2020/21.
Last year’s drop was partly due to fewer hospitals managing during the pandemic.
General practitioners and dentists accounted for the majority of all written claims (120k), the remaining 105k related to hospitals and community health services.
Communication is the most complained area in hospitals, accounting for 17.4% of all complaints.
For Primary Care, clinical treatment and errors received the most complaints. This accounts for 15.4 percent of all GP and Dental complaints.
Communicating with patients is the top concern, accounting for 17.4% of all hospital complaints
Staff attitudes and behaviors are also frequently criticized, at the heart of 11.4% of complaints about GPs and dentistry.
Ambulance performance statistics for October show paramedics taking longer to get to class one, two and three calls since records began in 2017. Ambulances took an average of 1 hour, one minute, and 19 seconds to respond to type two calls (red bars), such as burns, seizures, and strokes. This is more than three times longer than the goal of 18 minutes
The ambulance was unable to answer one of four 999 calls last month
New ambulance data for October shows emergency services are shutting down even before the predicted busy winter period.
Data shows that paramedics were unable to answer a quarter of 999 calls last month, a record number, because they were stuck outside the hospital unable to offload patients.
This has contributed to an estimated 5,000 UK patients potentially being ‘seriously injured’ by ambulance delays, another grim record.
Senior ambulance officials say patients die every day from delays and emergencies can no longer perform their role as a ‘safety net’ for those in need of urgent help.
Martin Flaherty, chief executive of the Association of Ambulance Executives (AACE), which represents the heads of Britain’s 10 ambulance services told the Guardian: ‘The life-saving safety net that the service has NHS ambulance supplies are being severely damaged by these unnecessary delays and patients are dying and being harmed every day.’
Data collected by AACE shows that 169,000 hours of ambulance time were lost in October due to delays in patient handovers.
Lost time meant paramedics were unable to answer 135,000 calls, accounting for 23% of the service’s total capacity to respond to emergencies.
Rachel Harrison, national secretary of the GMB association, which represents 15,000 staff in Britain’s ambulance services, said the data showed the service was in ‘crisis’.
‘These numbers show it’s on its knees and close to collapsing due to hiring, lack of capital, very low morale and demand for ambulance care which has doubled to 14 million calls a year since 2010,’ she said.
The data also shows that the average delivery time of ambulance crews to A&E in October was 42 minutes, up 12 minutes from the October 2021 figures.
In addition, the total number of one, two, three and 10-hour transfers were the highest ever recorded.
Staff attitudes and behaviors are also frequently criticized, being the focus of 10.6% of hospital complaints and 11.4% of GP and Dental complaints.
For hospitals, complaints about the standard of patient care, including nutrition and water, accounted for 12.7% of all applications submitted.
Communication is also not good for GP and Dentistry, which account for the second highest percentage (13.2) of all complaints.
Another area commonly complained about includes the availability and timing of GP and Dental appointments.
It comes as today’s terrifying numbers show winter chaos has hit the NHS earlier than ever, with flu cases already 10 times higher than last year.
Flu levels in hospitals are already twice as high as last winter’s peak.
Bed occupancy rates are close to hitting the 95 per cent mark, leading the NHS to believe there is little chance of dealing with the expected seasonal pressures in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, thousands of patients taken by ambulance to the hospital are waiting at least an hour to be handed over. Experts have described the ailing service as in a ‘melting’ state.
The data showing the dire state of the NHS came from the first winter situation report of the season.
Officials warned it was a sign that the health service was facing its ‘toughest winter ever’.
An average of 344 beds were filled with flu patients in the UK each day between 14 and 20 November.
This is 10 times higher than the level seen in early December 2021, when an average of 31 patients received flu treatment per day.
Last year’s figure, which was expected to be high after the Covid lockdowns reduced our immunity to the seasonal threat, peaked at around 140.
Ambulance deliveries also continued to be difficult, with one in 10 patients arriving at the hospital waiting more than an hour to be handed over as doctors struggled to find them a bed.
Just over 10,000 patients had to wait more than an hour before they could be transported by paramedics.
This compares with just 8,300 in the first week of last winter’s data, and just 3,200 patients in 2019, the most recent pre-pandemic data.
Ambulances stuck at hospitals waiting to hand over patients is a contributing factor to the danger of emergencies like heart attacks.
Source: | This article originally belonged to Dailymail.co.uk