NHS complaints increase by 4.9%

NHS ComplaintThe number of written complaints received by the NHS increased 4.9% in 2016/17, new figures from NHS Digital show.

Specifically there were a total of 90,600 written complaints to GP and dental practices in 2016/17, which is an increase of 9.7% in these areas.

Of the total number of primary care complaints NHS England received, 14.6% were related to dental practices.

‘More than a million patients use the NHS every 36 hours and the vast majority are satisfied with their experience, but for those who aren’t, the best way the NHS can improve care is to listen to what people tell us and handle complaints well,’ an NHS spokesperson said.

‘NHS England is working hard to help drive up the standard of complaints handling in primary care.’


NHS England received a total of 13,493 written complaints from dental surgeries, compared with 76,915 from GP surgeries.

The subject areas with the most complaints in dental practices related to clinical treatment (38.9%), communications (12.1%) and charge/costs (11.9%).

Whilst there has been an increase in the number of written complaints the NHS has received in the last year (208,415 in total), it is only slightly more than the 2014/15 total of 207,407.

‘High street NHS dentistry is under huge pressure, thanks to chronic underfunding and a contract system that puts targets ahead of patient care,’ a BDA spokesperson said.

‘It’s unsustainable.

‘The most effective way to turn the tide on complaints would be to ease the huge burdens placed on hardworking GDPs and allow them to spend more time with patients.’

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