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Older patients feel less comfortable complaining about their GP



Older patients feel less comfortable with making a complaint about their GP than younger patients, according to a Government survey.

According to a survey of over 1,000 adults aged 16 and over in England, almost three quarters would feel comfortable about making a complaint about their GP.

However, only 56% of patients aged 75 or over would feel comfortable about making a GP complaint. This is compared with 76% of 16 to 24 year olds.

Overall the survey, which was conducted by Ipsos Mori for the Department of Health in 2015 but only released today, shows an increase in the proportion of people agreeing that it is easy for people to feed back on NHS services.

The survey said: ‘The proportion of people who agree that it is easy for people to feed back on the service they receive from the NHS is at the highest level recorded since the question was first asked, increasing from 43% in winter 2014 to 48% in winter 2015.

‘This has been accompanied by a drop in the proportion of people who disagree it is easy to feed back (from 36% in winter 2014 to 29% in winter 2015).’

This comes as official data revealed in September that written complaints increased by 9.7% compared to the year before, with GP leaders attributing the increase in part to GPs ‘buckling under the pressures of a huge increase in patient numbers but a shortage of doctors to care for them’.

But it comes as Professor Clare Gerada, a GP expert in burnout, last week called for more support for doctors facing a patient complaint, claiming ‘complaints kill doctors’.