Official figures today revealed that more patients are complaining about the NHS than ever before.
More than 225,000 written complaints were made about poor health services in England in 2021/22.
That’s up from nearly 210,000 in the year before Covid hit and just over 160,000 in 2011/12, when records began.
Communications, clinical treatment, staff attitude and behavior, and patient care were the areas of greatest complaint.Read:the most important parameter to have healthy workplaces
It comes amid huge pressure on the NHS, which is preparing to face ‘its toughest winter ever’.
Backlogs are at an all-time high, with A&E performance and dive ambulance response times reaching record levels.
More than 225,000 written complaints about failing health services were filed in 2021/2022
The imminent threat of strikes and a “triple” of Covid, influenza and other seasonal viruses could add to the misery for health services this winter.
The total number of NHS complaints lodged has been increasing each year, with the exception of 2015/16 and 2020/21.
Last year’s fall was partly due to hospitals doing less oversight during the pandemic.Read:Hospitals and schools fear staff cuts over soaring energy bills
Physicians and dentists made up the largest part of all written complaints (120,000), while the other 105,000 were complaints related to hospitals and community health services.
Communications was the most frequently complained area for hospitals, making up 17.4 percent of all grievances.
For primary care, clinical treatment and errors received the most complaints. This constituted 15.4 per cent of all GP and dental complaints.
Communication with patients came out on top because they received the most extreme temperatures, making up 17.4 percent of all hospital complaints.
The attitude and behavior of staff in general was also criticized, as it was the focus of 11.4 per cent of GP and dental complaints.
Ambulance performance stats for October show that paramedics took longer to reach Class I, II, and III calls since records began in 2017. Ambulances took an average of 1 hour, 1 minute, and 19 seconds to respond to Class II calls (red bars), Such as burns, epilepsy and strokes. That’s three times longer than the 18-minute targetRead:Christopher Nkunku ‘has had secret Chelsea medical’ before a possible £52.8m move in 2023
Ambulances could not respond to one in 999 calls last month
New ambulance data for October shows that emergency services are breaking down even before the expected busy winter period.
Data shows paramedics were unable to respond to a quarter of the 999 calls last month, a record, because they were stuck outside hospitals unable to offload patients.
This contributed to an estimated 5,000 patients in England potentially suffering “extreme harm” as a result of ambulance delays, another grim record.
Senior ambulance officers said patients were dying every day because of the delay, and the emergency could no longer fulfill its role as a “safety net” for people who needed urgent help.
Martin Flaherty, managing director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), which represents the chiefs of England’s 10 ambulance services, told the Guardian: ‘The life-saving safety net provided by NHS ambulance services is being seriously compromised by these unnecessary delays and Patients are dying and getting hurt as a result on a daily basis.
Data collected by AACE shows 169,000 hours of ambulance crews’ time was lost in October due to delays in patient deliveries.
The lost time meant paramedics were unable to answer 135,000 calls, which is 23 percent of the services’ total emergency response capacity.
Rachel Harrison, national secretary for the GMB, which represents 15,000 staff in the English ambulance services, said the data showed a service in “falling apart”.
“These figures show it is on its knees and on the verge of collapse as a result of job vacancies, lack of funding, morale is very low and demand for ambulance care has doubled to 14 million calls per year since 2010,” she said.
The data also recorded that the average delivery time for ambulance crews to A&E in October was 42 minutes, up 12 minutes from the October 2021 figure.
In addition, the total number of one-, two-, three- and ten-hour deliveries was the highest ever.
The attitude and behavior of the staff in general was also criticized, as it focused on 10.6 percent of hospital complaints and 11.4 percent of general practitioner and dental complaints.
For hospitals, complaints about the standard of patient care, including nutrition and hydration, accounted for 12.7 percent of all complaints filed.
Communication was also not good for GP and dentistry, accounting for the second highest proportion (13.2) of all complaints.
Another area he commonly complained about was the availability and length of GP and dental appointments.
It comes as frightening figures today reveal that winter chaos has hit the NHS earlier than ever, with influenza entry already 10 times higher than last year.
Influenza levels in hospitals are already at twice the peak level last winter.
Bed occupancy rates are already close to 95 per cent, giving the NHS trust a little room to deal with the seasonal pressures expected in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, thousands of patients who are taken to hospital in an ambulance are forced to wait at least an hour before they are delivered. Experts have described the ailing service as being in a state of “meltdown”.
The data revealing the dire state of the NHS comes from this season’s first Winter Situation Report.
Officials warned that it was a sign that health services were facing “the toughest winter ever”.
Flu patients in England occupied an average of 344 beds each day from 14-20 November.
This is more than 10 times the level seen at the beginning of December in 2021, when an average of 31 patients were treated for influenza each day.
Last year’s numbers, which were expected to be high after Covid lockdowns weakened our immunity to seasonal danger, peaked at around 140.
Ambulance delivery also continues to suffer, with one in 10 patients arriving at the hospital stranded having to wait over an hour to be delivered while doctors struggle to find a bed for them.
Just over 10,000 patients had to wait over an hour before they could be discharged by paramedics.
This compares to just 8,300 in the first week of winter data last year, and only 3,200 patients in 2019, the most recent data before the pandemic.
Ambulances stuck in hospitals waiting to deliver patients is one factor that contributes to dangerous wait times for emergencies such as heart attacks.