THE most common complaints made against hospital staff in Worcestershire can today be revealed – with poor clinical treatment and appointment delays the biggest bug-bears.
New data has been published showing a steady rise in the most common problems voiced by patients in the county.
While the overall number of complaints is slightly down, since 2007 four of the top five areas of concern have grown compared with five years ago.
In 2011/12 376 complaints were made to Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust over clinical treatment, compared with 262 in 2007/08.
Gripes about delayed or cancelled appointments increased from 47 to 64 during the same period, and complaints about staff attitude rose from 28 to 69.
The fourth most common area of complaint was communication with patients, which also increased from 31 to 43 over the five years.
The trust did perform well on complaints about admissions, discharges or transfers, which numbered 23 in 2007 and hit a high of 38 in 2009/10, but came in at zero last year.
The complaints applied to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre.
Overall, the total number of complaints was 706 in 2011/12 but fell slightly to 704 during 2012/13, suggesting the patient experience is starting to slightly improve.
The data was debated during a meeting of the health overview and scrutiny committee at County Hall.
Councillor Jim Parish said: “I’ve been in hospital recently and found the acute care was great, but it was the administration that was lacking.
“Talking to nurses I found they had to spend so much time doing writing and doing paperwork, it was unbelievable.
“Things were not working as they should.”
Helen Blanchard, chief nursing officer, said the staff at all the sites were working tirelessly under increasing pressure.
“On the whole, the hospitals would not run as they do without the good will of the clinical staff, they are brilliant,” she said.
“There is no doubt the hospitals are under pressure due to the need to focus on acute patients, but we do everything in our gift to make sure people going through the system, right from the start towards discharge or into another health care setting, get an experience as seamless as possible.”
A report on the data says an outside organisation – likely to be the newly formed Healthwatch – is going to randomly re-visit a small number of non-clinical gripes to see if the complainants were satisfied with how each one was tackled.