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Health service complaints soar

PUBLISHED: 13:39 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:26 05 July 2010

The number of complaints made about health services in Yarmouth and Waveney has soared in the last year.

From January to March this year, the area's primary care trust (PCT) received 31 formal complaints about services which it provides or commissions, such as community hospitals, speech therapy, and the out-of-hours service, and a further 11 relating to primary care, such as GPs and dentists - a total of 42.

The number of complaints made about health services in Yarmouth and Waveney has soared in the last year.

From January to March this year, the area's primary care trust (PCT) received 31 formal complaints about services which it provides or commissions, such as community hospitals, speech therapy, and the out-of-hours service, and a further 11 relating to primary care, such as GPs and dentists - a total of 42. In the previous three months, there were 22 complaints - 11 about PCT services and 11 about primary care - and in January to March last year, there were 23 complaints - 11 about PCT services and 12 about primary care.

An investigation into a complaint about nursing care at a community hospital has led to “a number of key changes”, including refresher training for staff on nutritional assessment, and extra training is planned on continence management.

The report to today's board meeting says: “Patients who are readmitted to hospital now undergo a complete reassessment and improvements have been made to discharge planning and to communication with a patient's family.”

Yesterday, the PCT refused to name the hospital involved or to give any more details about the nature of the complaint, which it said was because of “patient confidentiality”. It said it would only provide more details after a Freedom of Information Act request - which our sister paper the EDP has now submitted and is waiting for a response.

Four of the complaints made this year concerned podiatry services and related to staff attitude and the frequency of appointments. The report says some complaints “related to a particular member of staff. This has been addressed as a performance issue.” A further four complaints were received about the lack of a speech and language therapist for hearing-impaired children, but that vacant post has now been filled.

The number of complaints made about GPs is at its highest level in the last year, standing at nine in the last quarter compared with two in the previous three months and the previous high of eight between April and June 2007.

Meanwhile, the number of complaints about dentists has dropped from a high of four last summer to just one in the last three months.

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