Complaints against hospital rise and response times slip

COMPLAINTS by patients at Weston General Hospital have risen by more than one third in the last year.

COMPLAINTS by patients at Weston General Hospital have risen by more than one third in the last year.

An annual report published by Weston Area Health Trust, which runs the hospital, also says it failed to respond to almost half the complaints within national targets.

The trust responded to complaints in full within four weeks in 51 per cent of cases, which was worse than last year at 64 per cent.

The response figures have been described as 'disappointing' by the trust's risk and complaints manager, Anne Persey.

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From April last year to March 2007, the total number of formal and informal complaints was 394, an overall increase of 29 per cent.

The complaints department handled 267 formal cases, which was an increase of one third on the previous year.

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More than 100 written or verbal inquiries registering concerns were also received.

However, the trust says it is turning around the figures.

A spokesman said: "If you examine the trend in numbers of complaints from 2001/02 onwards you can see that the trend has been consistent until 2005/06 when there was a significant drop.

"Therefore the increase in 2006/07 appears greater when compared with 2005/06, but is actually consistent with previous years.

"Our current trend is downwards with 34 formal complaints received between July and September 2007 - 25 fewer than in the previous three months.

"The trust recognises its response times need to be improved and has an action plan in place to achieve this.

"It is currently consulting on a planned revised process devolving greater responsibility to the individual divisions for drafting responses and improving response times.

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