4:30pm Monday 16th September 2013
By Tarik Al Rasheed
A HEALTH trust chairman is calling on his organisation to take a “zero-tolerance” approach to staff behaviour in a bid to drive down the number of complaints.
As we previously reported, Worcestershire Health and Care Trust has seen the number of complaints against it double over the last year, from 138 in 2011/12 to 302 in 2012/13. Some of the increase can be put down to the trust only being established in July 2011, meaning the that 2011/12 figures only account for nine months of data, while the trust also took over management of health services at HMP Oakwood prison in May 2012.
Director of quality, Sandra Brennan, said it was also important to look at the number of complaints “in proportion” to the number of compliments the trust receives – almost 2,500 in 2012/13 – and consider that only 20 per cent of the complaints made were actually upheld.
“We take all of our complaints very seriously and we have done a considerable amount of work over the last year to improve our response and make sure we are listening,” she said. “We are trying to make contact with people much earlier and trying to resolve any issues or concerns they may have before they feel they need to put in a formal complaint.” But the trust’s chairman, Chris Burdon, wants to see improvements made when it comes to complaints.
“Twenty per cent being upheld seems a small issue but that is still 20 per cent of 300 which is a sizeable number of people who have been let down in one way or another,” he said. “We should be targeting zero-tolerance, particularly those complaints that relate to the attitude and behaviour of staff.”
Complaints about staff’s attitude accounted for 31 complaints – more than 10 per cent of the total received. Issues concerning clinical treatment (107) were by far the biggest cause for complaint while concerns about communication and information (49) were the next most common.
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