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Complaints data published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

A report published today has revealed that, similar to last year, the top three reasons for hospital complaints investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in the last financial year (2014-15) were poor communication, errors in diagnosis and poor treatment.

Non-medical aspects of patient care are cited as a factor in almost half of all complaints investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Poor communication, including quality and accuracy of information, was a factor in one third of all complaints.

Other reasons for complaints in this period included staff attitude and behaviour, which were factors in two out of 10 complaints.

The report outlines how many unresolved complaints the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigated for every acute trust in England and the final decision made.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor said:
‘We know that there are many factors that influence the number of complaints hospitals receive, such as organisational size, demographics and whether they actively encourage feedback from patients.
‘I strongly believe that NHS leaders should welcome feedback from patients and recognise the opportunities that good complaint handling offers to improve the services they provide.
‘We are publishing this data to help hospital trusts identify problems and take action to ensure trust in the healthcare system remains high.’


The report compares the number of complaints the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigates to the size of each trust. The size of the trust is determined by the number of 'clinical incidents' such as outpatient appointments, elective surgery and emergency admissions the trust has carried out. This shows how likely a trust is to receive a complaint about its service.

The report reveals that the number of enquiries the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has received and investigated about acute trusts, increased in 2014-15, compared to 2013-14:

•    In 2014-15, it received 21,371 enquiries about the NHS, compared to 18,870 in 2013-14.
•    Of these enquiries, 8,853 were about acute trusts in 2014-15, compared to 8,178 in 2013-14.
•    It completed 1,652 investigations about acute trusts in 2014-15, compared to 852 in 2013-14. This rise can largely be explained by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in 2013 changing the way it handles complaints to undertake more investigations, resulting in it now completing ten times as many investigations in 2014-15 than in 2012-13. It completed 384 investigations in 2012-13 and 4,159 investigations in 2014-15.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman makes final decisions on complaints which haven’t been resolved locally by the NHS in England. In 2014-15 it upheld 36% of the cases it investigated about the NHS and 44% about acute trusts.

Original source: http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/news-centre/press-releases/2015/new-report-sheds-light-on-top-hospital-complaints-investigated-by-the-parliamentary-and-health-service-ombudsman?utm_source=The%20King%27s%20Fund%20newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=6178487_HMP%202015-09-22&dm_i=21A8,3OFCN,FM9TJJ,D97B6,1
Full report http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/reports-and-consultations/reports/health/complaints-about-acute-trusts-2014-15#Acute%20trusts%20report

Related events:

Complaints Handling, Investigating, Resolving and Learning
Monday 7 December 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Root Cause Analysis: 2 Day Intensive Training Course
Wednesday 9 December — Thursday 10 December 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Always Events®: A positive approach to Improving Patient Care
Thursday 22 October 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Measuring, Understanding and Acting on Patient Experience Insight
Friday 29 January 
Hallam Conference Centre, London


22 September 2015

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