Healthwatch England found that the complaints systems in place were currently failing¹:
- 48% of people do not have the confidence that formal complaints are actually dealt with (rises to 60% for the 55+ age group)
- Over 54% of people who had a problem with health or social care in the last three years did nothing to report it
- 49% of consumers surveyed have no trust in the system and are crying out for an independent and easily recognisable advocate to deal with complaints
These findings were echoed by people in Kirklees, where recent changes have left people unsure of where to complain to. Local people also told us that some staff respond in a very defensive way when they showed they were unhappy about the quality of service they have received. Often, what starts out as quite a minor problem, which could probably be resolved at a local level, then escalates to a formal complaint because initial concerns have not been responded to appropriately.
Others expressed concern that lessons were not being learnt from complaints as the service didn’t appear to have improved. In these instances, people didn’t feel they have been listened to and their comments hadn’t been respected and valued.
Our full report can be seen below