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24/09/13 09:36

NHS complaints

Health boards using feedback to improve care.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said:

“Our health service does a fantastic job in the overwhelming number of cases. To give this some perspective, the NHS in Scotland oversees an estimated 24 million GP or practice nurse consultations, over 4.5 million hospital outpatient appointments and 1.65 million A&E visits each year.

“But, in an organisation of this size, care can sometimes fall below the standards we all demand. In those cases I want to encourage patients to give us feedback, whether good or bad, so that health boards can continually improve the care they provide. These statistics demonstrate this is happening.

“That is in line with the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011, which was introduced in April last year and provides the legal right to complain, or give feedback or comments.

“It is important to note that this release is the first time that complaints in relation to pharmacies and opticians services are included. Boards are also more proactively promoting the complaints procedure and encouraging feedback. More staff are now aware of what constitutes a complaint and data collection has improved.

“This is all in line with our commitment to shine a light on areas where things go wrong and crucially, learn lessons. Earlier this year, I also announced the roll out of the patient opinion website across Scotland, so that we could hear patient stories first hand, whether good or bad, because it helps to make our health services better.

“I have been very clear that health boards should fully investigate complaints and demonstrate that action has been taken as a result, to resolve any issues and ensure they do not happen again.”

Notes to editors

The full statistics can be viewed at