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NHS foundation trusts 'failing to report data'

Just over 148,000 written complaints about the health service in 2010-11 were reported to the NHS Information Centre for its annual collection; a 2.4% (3,700) decrease compared to the previous year.

However, 29 foundation trusts (FTs) did not report any data in 2010-11, compared to 18 in the previous year, according to data on written complaints in the NHS (2010-11), a process that is voluntary for FTs.

Considering the 352 trusts who reported data for both 2010-11 and for the previous year; total written complaints increased by 0.3%; from 145,000 to 145,400.

Today's report presents data reported through two collections - one for family health services and one for hospital and community health services, which is voluntary for FTs.

It also includes for the first time published data about the subject area of complaint down to NHS trust level.

For NHS hospitals and community services in 2010-11, the medical profession received the most written complaints of any service area, accounting for just under 45% of complaints recorded.

Nurses, midwives and health visitors accounted for the second biggest amount at just over a fifth of complaints. This is a similar proportion to the previous year. The subject most complained about was 'all aspects of clinical treatment', which accounted for 44% of complaints. This type of complaint increased from 42% in the previous year.

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: "Data about 148,200 complaints was submitted to this report, but I would encourage all foundation trusts to report their complaints to us, so that future reports can tell the complex story based on information from every trust.

"It appears that medical and clinical aspects of care remain the biggest area of complaint within the NHS."

NHS Information Centre