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Formal complaints at an eye hospital: a three‐year analysis

Randhir Chavan (Wolverhampton and Midland Counties Eye Infirmary, Wolverhampton, UK)
Carol Porter (Wolverhampton and Midland Counties Eye Infirmary, Wolverhampton, UK)
Soupramanien Sandramouli (Wolverhampton and Midland Counties Eye Infirmary, Wolverhampton, UK)

Clinical Governance: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7274

Article publication date: 1 May 2007




Complaints can provide the health provider with vital information on its performance and can point towards areas for improvement. The purpose of this study was to undertake a retrospective study of all formal complaints in an eye hospital over a three‐year period in order to look at the complaint rate, demographics, their nature, how they were resolved and the lessons learned.


Complaints received were entered onto the complaints module of the DATIX database system. Formal patient complaints between April 2003 and March 2006 available on the DATIX database were analysed retrospectively.


The study found that there were total of 94 formal complaints out of 186,323 attendances at the hospital. The overall complaint rate was 5.09 per 10,000 attendances. 52(55.31 per cent) complaints were about rescheduling or cancellation of appointments. Complaints related to communication failure were 17(18.08 per cent) followed by clinical complaints, which totalled 13 (13.82 per cent). Four (4.25 per cent) complaints each under the category of amenities, administrative and waiting times were also recorded. The complaint rate for Outpatients Department was 1.5 per 10,000 attendances. The in‐patient ward had a complaint rate of 0.91 per 1000. The complaint rate for A&E department was 0.88 per 10,000 attendances. The operation theatre plus laser sessions had a complaint rate of 0.95 per 10,000. 79 (84.04 per cent) complaints were resolved at the first stage of local resolution. Complaints during the study period brought about two clinical changes in practice.


The use of complaints data as an important tool to learn from less satisfied patients is recommended. Comparing and sharing data on complaints between hospitals can help to highlight common deficient areas and can also be used to plan strategies.



Chavan, R., Porter, C. and Sandramouli, S. (2007), "Formal complaints at an eye hospital: a three‐year analysis", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 85-92.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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