October 25, 2013 9.34 am This story is over 97 months old

NHS complaints continue to rise

NHS complaints: Although the number has risen, the majority of people still do not report problems and instead suffer in silence, writes solicitor John Knight.

The number of complaints to the NHS has doubled in the last five years, with over 8,000 people complaining in 2012 about treatment they have received, according to reports.

Out of the complaints made, 10% were actually made by doctors against other medical professionals. This shows that the previous attitude of looking after their own and staying silent when patients suffer at the hands of their colleagues and peers is beginning to change, so that more people are held accountable when their standard of treatment is not at the level expected of them.

It is thought that the increase in the number of complaints has partly been caused by the investigations into many of the NHS trusts because of their low standards of care. United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which covers local hospitals including Lincoln County, Boston Pilgrim and Grantham and District, is one of the trusts being investigated.

Even though the number of complaints has risen, a survey showed that the majority of people still do not report a problem they have had with medical treatment and instead suffer in silence.

This means that they are missing out on the opportunity to ask questions about the treatment they were not satisfied with and find out if it was negligent. If there has been negligent treatment by a medical professional then this means that a claim for compensation can be made, but many people do not realise they are able to make a claim and lose the chance of obtaining compensation that they are entitled to.

Only this month, a teenage boy who suffered severe brain damage during his birth at Lincoln County Hospital won over £2.65 million in compensation.

Examples of situations where there could have been negligence on behalf of a medical professional include failing to diagnose a condition or illness, prescribing incorrect or inappropriate treatment, failing to warn someone of all of the significant risks that could occur as the result of treatment and providing a very poor standard of treatment.

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John Knight is the Head of the Personal Injury and Medical Negligence departments at Ringrose Law. He has worked in the Personal Injury team at Ringrose Law since 2003, and particularly specialises in complex and high value claims such as accidents at work, road traffic accidents and accidents resulting in death. He also specialises in representing families at inquests and helping people suffering serious injuries from assaults or other criminal activities via the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority.