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West Suffolk: Number of complaints go up by 22% at hospital

PUBLISHED: 13:22 27 June 2014

The number of formal complaints lodged at West Suffolk Hospital has gone up by nearly a quarter over the last twelve months, new figures have revealed.

According to statistics released by the hospital under the Freedom of Information Act, 356 patients or carers complained about services or treatment at the Hardwick Lane site in Bury St Edmunds in 2013 to 2014.

The number is a rise of 22% on the 278 people who formally complained the year before and also up significantly on the 280 people who lodged complaints in 2011 to 2012.

A spokesman from the hospital said it was unclear why the number of complaints had gone up,

He said: “We actively encourage patients and carers to feed back their views on the services they receive so that we can find ways to further improve. Along with patient surveys and questionnaires, formal complaints are one of the ways we gather this feedback.

“We try and make it as easy as possible for people to resolve any issues they may have, and provide information about raising concerns on our website, in leaflets and on posters displayed around the hospital.”

He added: “Every complaint we receive is taken seriously and investigated fully, the findings are shared with the complainant and any themes or lessons we have learnt as a result are communicated across the trust.”

According to hospital guidelines, a formal complaint can be made in writing, by email, by telephone or in person. If a complainant rings or attends in person, he/she will be encouraged to put the complaint in writing or approve a summary of the complaint as documented. A complaint must be made within twelve months of the date on which the matter which is the subject of the complaint occurred, or twelve months of the date on which the matter came to the notice of the complainant.

The Complaints Manager may also investigate if, irrespective of the time that has elapsed, it is still possible to investigate the complaint effectively.

It is unclear whether the number of informal complaints has changed over the same period.

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