Scotland politics

NHS complaints in Scotland rise by 15% in the past year

NHS hospital
Overall complaints rose by 15%

Complaints about hospital and community health services were up by 15% last year, according to the latest official NHS statistics.

The majority of complaints were about hospital care.

Opposition parties have said that the increase - the highest for eight years - is a direct result of cuts to resources and staffing.

However, the Scottish government said the new Patient Rights Act may have prompted more people to complain.

According to the 2011/12 figures from NHS Scotland, 8,117 people submitted a formal complaint, an increase of 1,062 on 2010/11.

Issues involving treatment and staffing made up more than two thirds of the total and 60% of all complaints were either wholly or partially upheld.

The figures are the largest since NHS procedures were revised in 2005 and are the equivalent of 22 complaints being lodged every day by patients.

Of the total complaints about hospital and community care, 77%, or 6,235, related to acute services in hospitals. This marked a 20% rise when set against the 2010/11 figure of 5,217.

Labour's health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said the NHS was "buckling" under the pressure and she was not surprised dissatisfaction was on the rise.

'No coincidence'

She added: "These complaints are the real legacy of Nicola Sturgeon. Fewer staff, coping with more demands with less resource. It's a recipe for disaster."

Ms Baillie went on to put the blame at the feet of the Finance Secretary John Swinney.

She said: "The budget last week compounds the situation with a £190m cut over the next three years."

The Scottish Conservatives echoed the concerns of Labour with spokesman Jackson Carlaw saying it was "no coincidence" that "slashing nurses and midwife numbers" would result in a rise in dissatisfaction with the NHS.

A Scottish government spokesperson said it noted the overall increase and added that it would inform and help NHS boards provide "person-centred care".

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