Complaints against GPs and dentists higher than reported

  • Date: 14 October 2013

COMPLAINTS against NHS doctors and dentists in Scotland increased by over a third last year, according to revised government figures.

The original report from information unit ISD Scotland in September indicated complaints had dropped by 15 per cent between 2011/12 and 2012/13.

However, these figures were later found to be inaccurate and the result of a “formula error”.

The updated report reveals complaints against GPs and dentists actually went up by 36 per cent in the year before 2012/13. The first report said there had been 2,992 complaints in 2012/13 but the true figure stands at 4,804. That compares to the previous year’s total of 3,538.

The revised report found complaints against medical practitioners had risen by 39 per cent while dental complaints went up by 20 per cent.

Complaints also increased in the hospital and community sectors. More than 9,100 complaints were received in 2012/13 compared to 8,117 the previous year – a rise of 13 per cent. This is a slight improvement on the 15 per cent increase between 2010/11 and 2011/12.

In 2012/13, 28 per cent of the complaints were fully upheld, 35 per cent were partially upheld and 36 per cent were not upheld. Between 2011/12 and 2012/13 the number of complaints upheld or partially upheld increased by 17 per cent.

The statistical error has sparked criticism from some groups. Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw branded it a “major oversight” and called on the Scottish Government to explain why there has been such a considerable rise in complaints.

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