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Is the recent increase in complaints within the NHS due to falling standards, or is an increase in media coverage, particularly social media, to blame?

After complaints against doctors increased by 100 percent between 2007 to 2012, increasing from 5,168 in 2007 to 10,347 in 2012, an investigation team at the University of Plymouth’s medical school were commissioned by the General Medical Council (GMC) to research the reasons behind the increase.

The report which was published recently found a variety of reasons were responsible for the increase in grievances. Firstly, the general public with the help of Google, Twitter, Wikipedia etc. are now much better informed of health issues than they were 5 years ago, which results in an increased expectation of doctors. Additionally social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook encourage people to share their negative experiences and give them an easy platform to make a complaint.

Dr Julian Archer, the lead author of the report from the university, said the report had led to “some fascinating findings” and that “they show that the forces behind a rise in complaints against doctors are hugely complex and reflect a combination of increased public awareness, media influence, the role of social media technology and wider changes in society.”

GMC Chief Executive Niall Dickson stated: “we have no evidence that the rise in complaints against doctors reflects falling standards – what this research underlines is that patients are more willing to complain and find it easier to do so”.

The report also revealed that a large percentage of the complaints made by the general public are not being made to the correct authority. Niall Dickson added: “The large number of complaints we receive that are not for us suggests the current system is not working as well as it should.”

“The challenge for the GMC and other organisations is to make sure that anyone who has a concern or complaint can find their way to the right organisation to deal with it. For the vast majority of patients and relatives, that will mean local resolution. The large number of complaints we receive that are not for us suggests that the current system is not working as well as it should.”


Complaints at Jigsaw

Not that we get many but here at #TeamJigsaw we take any complaints very seriously; be that from members of the public who have been treated by our paramedics or staff we have placed at a hospital, or even someone taking offence at something we may have shared on social media. Each individual case is treated with the utmost respect and diligence no matter how small or serious the complaint may be.

There is no excuse to be rude, or deceitful. We are what we are, and we are proud of that! We pride ourselves on our service and transparency, and you will never find another team who is as innovative, attentive and imaginative as…