The British government has found the right strategy to cut down on complaints about the National Health Service–convince patients that nothing can be done. Then the bothersome people will simply go away.
One in seven patients using the NHS is unhappy, but most do not complain because they believe ‘nothing will be done’, a report reveals.
Just 5 per cent of dissatisfied patients made formal complaints last year – 133,600 about the health service and 17,100 about social care.
Those who failed to voice their concerns said they lacked confidence in the system, believed nothing would be done, or thought that they would be branded ‘troublemakers’.
The report from the National Audit Office, released today, also says many patients fail to complain because of a lack of help and the long time it takes to settle queries through independent channels.
At present, patients who believe a hospital or GP has not dealt properly with their complaint can take it further to the independent Healthcare Commission.
However, this second level is due to be scrapped despite handling 10,000 complaints a year. Around one in six of these is settled in favour of patients.
Although appeals will still be able to be made to the Ombudsman’s Office, it deals with fewer than 1,000 complaints a year.
A spokesman for the Patients Association said: ‘Despite the army of people involved, the NHS is light years away from a genuine complaints service.
‘It lacks compassion, is bureaucratic beyond belief and takes far too long. This is not a “service”, it is a sham.’ A spokesman for the Department of Health said the new system would lead to complaints being handled better
Yet another great reason to think several times before nationalizing health care in America!