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Your spotlight on health and social care services


Tel 03000 68 3000


What are the problems with the health and social care complaints system?

Complaints can identify problems and help to improve services for other people. But the health and social care system is not always good at listening.

That's the lesson of Mid Staffordshire, Winterbourne View and Morecambe Bay. Report after report has found a systematic failure to listen to, and act upon, the concerns of patients, carers and families. These failures have resulted in neglect, poor quality care and even death.

According to our research and our conversations with patients, care users and the public, we found that fewer than half of those who experience poor care actually report it. As a result we estimate that 250,000 incidents went unreported last year. This means that one person every two minutes is experiencing poor care but feels unable to even report it.

Add to this the fact that there is no national oversight of the number of complaints about social care services, and it becomes clear that the official figures are just the tip of the iceberg.

The problems

So what did we hear when we asked people about their experiences of the complaints system in health and social care?