Welsh ombudsman NHS complaints up 8%

16 Aug 17

Complaints made to the public services ombudsman for Wales about Welsh NHS bodies have increased by 8% over the past year, according to new figures.

The ombudsman, Nick Bennett, said the continued trend was concerning and called on the Welsh Assembly to push forward with new ombudsman legislation to improve standards of public service delivery.

Today’s 2016-17 annual report and accounts reveal that the ombudsman received 2,056 complaints about public services in Wales and a further 236 code of conduct complaints against local government councillors.

The total number of enquiries and complaints has increased by 75% over the past six years, while complaints received about health now make up 38% of the ombudsman’s caseload.

Bennett said: “The ongoing rise in complaints about NHS bodies is concerning.”

He noted that a high volume of complaints received concerned the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. It was one of seven organisations to which Bennett appointed an improvement officer to help them turn round services.

Bennett said there was “evidence of a fear and blame culture” permeating some public sector, but added: “I’m pleased that following a health complaint seminar held by my office recently, it’s clear that health board staff are keen to strengthen governance, training and data collection arrangements to improve complaints handling.”

Bennett urged the Welsh government to push forward with the new draft Ombudsman bill in the autumn, which he said would enable his office to identify an deal with cycles of poor service delivery with less difficulty.

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