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Lessons learnt from complaints by surgical patients

B. Saravanan (North West Wales NHS Trust, Bangor, Wales, UK)
E. Ranganathan (North West Wales NHS Trust, Bangor, Wales, UK)
L.R. Jenkinson (North West Wales NHS Trust, Bangor, Wales, UK)

Clinical Governance: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7274

Article publication date: 14 August 2007

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the complaints received from surgical patients and provide suggestions to reduce them.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a retrospective study of 100 complaints received from surgical patients over a two‐year period between January 2004 and December 2005. Data was obtained through the complaints department and summaries of all the complaints were analysed.

Findings

There were 47 males and the median age was 58 years (range 13‐92). Of complaints, 44 per cent were received from outpatients and 56 per cent from inpatients. The main reasons for complaints from outpatients were appointment delays or cancellations (54.6 per cent), followed by clinical treatment (20.5 per cent), communication issues (13.6 per cent), attitude of staff (9.1 per cent) and miscellaneous (2.25 per cent). For inpatients, the main reasons were clinical treatment (39.3 per cent) followed by delay in admission/investigations (25 per cent), communication (17.9 per cent), attitude of staff (10.7 per cent) and miscellaneous (7.1 per cent). The outpatients complain mostly about administrative problems whereas inpatients complain about clinical care. Communication problems and staff attitude are the next most common in either setting. Providing patients with clear patient information about admission, treatment and waiting times would help to reduce complaints.

Originality/value

The paper shows that adopting an empathetic approach to patients and understanding their concerns and anxieties would improve patient satisfaction.

Keywords

Citation

Saravanan, B., Ranganathan, E. and Jenkinson, L.R. (2007), "Lessons learnt from complaints by surgical patients", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 155-158. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777270710775864

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited