Thu, 05 Oct 2023

The Department of Health today published statistics on complaint issues and compliments received by the six Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts during 2021/22.

It also includes information on complaints against Family Practitioner Services in Northern Ireland for the year ending 31 March 2022.

This statistical release presents information on complaint issues and compliments received by HSC Trusts. It details the number of HSC Trust complaint issues received, the programme of care (POC), category, subject and specialty of the complaint issue, along with the time taken to provide a substantive response to complaints received.  Information on compliments received by HSC Trusts provides details on the subject of the compliment and method by which the compliment was received. Information is also presented on Family Practitioner Services complaints handled by the HSC Board.

Key Points

The key findings presented in the statistics release are listed below.

Latest Year (2020/21)

  • A total of 4,011 complaints, relating to 6,210 complaint issues, were received by HSC Trusts in 2021/22 (Tables 1 & 9); equating to 77 complaints per week or approximately 11 complaints per day.
  • Over half (3,221, 51.9%) of complaint issues received during 2021/22 related to the 'Acute' POC (Table 2, Figure 3).
  • During 2021/22, the highest number (1,441, 23.2%) of complaint issues related to a patient's 'Quality of Treatment & Care' (Table 5).
  • The highest percentage of complaint issues received in 2021/22 related to the 'Accident & Emergency' specialty (1,097, 17.7%) (Table 7).
  • Of the 4,011 complaints received in 2021/22, the median age of the patient / client was 42 years (Figure 8).
  • On average HSC Trusts took 30.1 working days to provide a substantive response to complaints received in 2021/22 (Table 9, Figure 13).
  • During 2021/22, 18,789 compliments (via card, email, feedback form, care opinion, letter, social media or telephone) were received by HSC Trusts in Northern Ireland.
  • Of the 18,789 compliments received by HSC Trusts, 10,545 (56.1%) related to 'Quality of Treatment & Care', 5,247 (27.9%) to 'Staff Attitude & Behaviour', 1,494 (7.9%) to 'Information & Communication', 708 (3.8%) to 'Environment', and 804 (4.3%) to 'Other' subjects (Table 15, Figure 20).

Last Five Years (2017/18 - 2020/21)

  • Since 2017/18, the number of complaint issues received by HSC Trusts increased by 6.8% (396), from 5,814 to 6,210 in 2021/22 (Table 1, Figure 2).
  • Over the last five years, four of the six HSC Trusts reported an increase in the number of complaint issues received; with the largest increase (37.9%, 362) reported by the Southern Trust (Table 1, Figure 2). 
  • Between 2017/18 and 2021/22, the largest increase in the number of complaint issues (208, 53.3%) was in the 'Mental Health' POC (390 to 598) (Table 3). 
  • Complaints issues relating to Family Practitioner Services decreased (10, 4.2%) in 2021/22 compared to 2017/18 (Table 10, Figure 14).

The information release is published on the Departmental website

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