Complaints up by 40 per cent

Craigavon Area Hospital
Craigavon Area Hospital

Complaints to the Southern Health Trust have soared by 40 per cent over the past five years, newly released statistics have revealed.

Over the past year there have been 1,166 complaints to the Trust, compared to just 777 in 2010/11.

The vast majority of complaints in 2014/15 were related to acute care - a total of 471.

The Southern Health Trust attracted the highest number of complaints of all the trusts on issues related to Elderly Services, with a total of 152.

The Trust also had the highest number of complaints linked to Family and Child Care with a total of 142.

Primary Health and Adult Community issues accounted for 117 complaints - again, the highest number of complaints across all the trusts.

Mental health complaints also featured as the highest in the Southern Trust compared to the rest of the province, with 100 complaints. Family and Child care issues attracted 74 complaints - one of the lowest figures of all the health trusts. Meanwhile, Learning Disability issues attracted the highest number of complaints, with 67 complaints.

In the Southern HSC Trust, almost a third (32.2%) of complaint issues related to the ‘Diagnosis/Operation/Treatment’ category.

Poor patient experience accounted for 17.5% of complaints, while appointments and waiting times accounted for 11.5% of complaints.

A spokesperson for the Trust said: “Each year, hundreds of thousands of people use our many services. For example, more than 100,000 people attend our Emergency Departments and 375,000 attend outpatient appointments. The demand for Trust services is growing significantly each year. We receive about 1,000 complaints each year relating to a very wide range of issues and concerns. The Trust also receives many thousands of messages from people who are satisfied with the care and treatment they receive from the Trust, and we know that the work done by our staff is very much appreciated by many people. Each complaint is fully investigated.”