“It’s vital people are easily able to make their voices heard” – our response to Healthwatch’s report on complaints

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“It’s essential for better public services that people speak up when things go wrong, but too often people don’t complain because they don’t think anything will change or they don’t know where to go.  

“We welcome Healthwatch’s recommendations to improve the complaints system. The Government should introduce a unified public services ombudsman and allow super-complaints, as in private markets, as soon as possible. It’s vital that people are easily able to make their voices heard and feel confident their feedback will trigger action.” 


1. Our ‘Make complaints count’ campaign now has around 60,000 supporters and is calling on the Government to pledge to be the champion of patients, parents and all users of public services by committing to:

·         Giving people a role in triggering inspections by regulators through their complaints

·         Giving people a unified public services ombudsman which can swiftly deal with their unresolved complaints

·         Giving people a voice by allowing representative groups to make super-complaints in our public services, as they do in private markets

People can support the campaign at www.which.co.uk/publicservices

2. Which? research has found:

  • 41% of people who have experienced a problem with the NHS in the past year didn’t complain.
  • 34% of those who didn’t complain about a problem with the NHS said they didn’t know who to complain to – more than double the percentage (15%) who said the same in 2012.
  • 34% didn’t complain because they didn’t think anything would be done.
  • The most common problems with hospitals and GPs were the quality of the service (39%), communications from professionals (35%) and the service being poorly managed (34%). 

Methodology: Populus, on behalf of Which?, conducted an online survey of 4,132 UK adults between 19th and 23rd February 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all UK adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by their rules. ​​​