Which? response to the Clwyd and Hart review into NHS hospitals complaints handling

In response to the Clwyd and Hart review Sonia Sodha, Head of Public Services at Which?, said:

“The current complaints system has failed to highlight serious failings within the NHS so we wholeheartedly support the review’s recommendations to increase transparency and accountability on complaints handling and to provide more protection for whistleblowers.

“We now want the Government to go further and require the Care Quality Commission to inspect any hospital trust with abnormally high levels of unresolved complaints. People often don’t complain because they don’t think that anything will be done so these reforms must give people the confidence that their voices will be both heard and acted upon.”


Which? research found that 14% of people who have used a specialist consultant in a hospital have experienced a problem in the last year. Of those who told us about their most recent problem, four in ten (40%) did not complain and the top reasons given for this were:

– Six in 10 (59%) did not think anything would be done

– Four in ten (41%) did not think it would be worth the effort

– Around a third (36%) said they were worried that complaining might lead to worse service/treatment for them or their family member

Of those who did complain:

– Less than one in five (17%) were satisfied with the outcome of their complaint.

– Nearly half (46%) were dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint.

YouGov plc, on behalf of Which?, interviewed a random sample of 5,257 UK adults aged 18+ between 9th and 13th July 2012. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults.