Formal complaints drop by more than 25%

Monday July 30, 2018

The number of formal patient complaints received by the trust have reduced by more than 25% over the past year.

Chief nurse Nicola Ranger revealed the figures while presenting the Patient Experience Annual Report at a meeting of the board in Worthing on Thursday 26 July.

In 2017/18, patients made 431 formal complaints, compared to 576 the year before.

The average number of complaints per patient has also fallen, from 0.76 inpatient complaints for every 1,000 bed days in 2016/17 to 0.57 last year.

For outpatients, the improvement is even greater, with nearly a 50% drop over the same period from 9.29 formal complaints for every 10,000 appointments two years ago, to just 4.92 last year.

Chief nurse, Nicola Ranger said: “While one complaint will always be one too many, these are excellent figures and the improvements are clearly testament to the quality of care staff are providing.

“I would also wish to pay tribute to the Patient Experience and Complaints Team who over the same period have greatly increased the number of complaints dealt with satisfactorily in less than 25 days.”

Responding and resolving issues when patients and their loved ones are worried and anxious makes an enormous difference

Improving complaint response times

Improving the timeliness of responses to concerns and complaints is one of the seven key ambitions of the trust’s new Patient Experience Strategy.

And figures show that significant improvements are already being made. For example, in the last three months of 2016/17, only 18% of patients making formal complaints had their cases resolved within 25 days but, in the most recent three month period, more than 57% of patients’ complaints were closed within 25 days.

The actual number of open and ongoing complaints is also much less, with figures for the same periods showing a reduction from 167 complaints to just 56.

Patient experience matron, Katrina O’Shea, said: “These figures represent a great achievement which would not have been possible without the commitment from the complaints team and all of the staff that have been asked to respond as quickly as possible to patient’s concerns and complaints.

“Responding and resolving issues when patients and their loved ones are worried and anxious makes an enormous difference to how they feel about our services.”

The latest divisional figures show even greater improvement; with 78% of Surgery patients receiving a response within 25 days; 71% of Medicine patients; and for Women & Children it is a perfect 100%.

Katrina added: “I would really like to thank everyone for their hard work and support in achieving this and I feel really proud that this has become ‘business-as-usual’ for us.”

The Annual Patient Experience Report is agenda item 8 in this month’s public board papers available on the trust’s website.

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