Complaints about NHS Borders increase

NHS Borders, Newstead
NHS Borders, Newstead

Complaints about NHS Borders rose by 23 per cent over the past year to 177 - 56 per cent of them were either upheld or partially upheld.

NHS Scotland published their complaints figures this week - complaints about NHS Lothian went up by 25 per cent, with NHS Borders and NHS Tayside also seeing substantial increases of 23 per cent.

Over 300 issues were raised in the NHS Borders complaints, of which 111 concerned staff and 123 treatment.

Evelyn Fleck, director of nursing and midwifery, said: “The Patients Rights (Scotland) Act (2011) requires NHS boards to take a proactive approach to encouraging complaints and feedback. NHS Borders ran a publicity campaign informing the public of their right to provide feedback about the health services we provide.

“This campaign appears to have been effective and we believe the rise in feedback and complaints can be attributed to this.

“We take every complaint seriously and investigate each one fully, using the outcomes as learning points for the organisation.

“One of the most important lessons is that complaints about clinical treatment are most effectively dealt with in the area where the complaint is made, such as wards and clinics. The best way to resolve complaints is for clinicians, patients and carers to work together so we are increasingly involving patients, carers and clinicians in learning from complaints and feedback.

“We have more than 10 commendations for every complaint we receive (2008). We are always grateful to people who take the time to write to thank our staff and these commendations can also add to our learning from patients experiences.”

Local MP, John Lamont, is concerned that staffing levels are the main cause of complaints increasing.

He said: “The rise in complaints coincides with the recent drop in staffing levels in our hospitals. Despite the best efforts of the remaining staff this has understandably had an effect on patient care.”