I asked if you’d ever complained about the service you’ve received from a healthcare professional. Your feedback and our research has prompted us to take action and we want to make your complaints count.
Many thanks to those who took the time to share their experiences of both good and bad practice in the healthcare sector. Take Beryl for example; she took action by complaining about an issue at her local GP. She told us:
‘I have nothing but praise for the reaction received from my Medical Practice. As a result of my letter of complaint I have received sincere apologies by phone by the Practice Manager, followed by very swift and prompt action by a member of the medical team which secured all the necessary treatment without delay.’
Beryl said that the timing of our discussions provided her with the impetus to write a letter of complaint which produced the necessary results.
Cause for complaint
But Beryl’s example isn’t always the case across the range of public services available to us. Our latest research reveals that a third of those who have experienced a problem with a public service didn’t complain. And often the reason for not doing so is because people don’t know who to complain to, or think it’s not worth the effort.
And even those who do complain aren’t always happy with the response. Four in 10 weren’t satisfied with the outcome of their complaint and half felt like their complaint was ignored.
While the Government has announced new measures to strengthen patient feedback in the NHS, we think there is still work to be done across all of the public services – from hospitals and GPs, childcare nurseries and care homes, and schools and universities.
Patient and parent champions
We want the Government to pledge to be the champion of patients, parents and all users of public services. We want you to have a role in triggering inspections by regulators by sharing your complaints and feedback. And with a unified public services ombudsman, you could have a simple single escalation point if your complaint is not resolved satisfactorily. Finally, Which? and other representative groups must be given the power to make super complaints in public services, just as we do in the private markets.
But we can’t do this without your help. We need your signatures and experiences of the public services sector to continue our work. Your experiences will help shape the direction of our campaign and prompt research into areas within the public sector which need more attention from politicians.
Public services are vital to everyone and if something goes wrong it’s crucial that people feel it’s worth speaking up to help stop the same thing happening again. Barriers to giving feedback must be removed if public services are to deliver the high standards that we all expect.