You're viewing our new website - find out more


NHS complaints

Published: 29 Sep 2015 09:30

Statistics show 0.05 per cent complaint rate

There were 22,417 complaints made by patients across the Scottish Health Service last year – the equivalent of 0.05 per cent of all NHS activity.

The figure, published today by ISD Scotland, includes all hospital visits, and GP, outpatient, dental and ophthalmic appointments.

This represents a 9 per cent increase on 2013/14. This is largely down to a rise in complaints from prisoners, reflecting actions taken by Boards since 2013-14 to ensure that prisoners have access to the NHS complaints procedure.

The number of prisoner complaints increased from 3,018 to 4,277 last year, a rise of 41 per cent. Of those complaints, 63 per cent were not upheld.

Total response times improved last year, with 70 per cent of complaints about hospital and community health services, 90 per cent of complaints about family health services, and 82 per cent of complaints about special boards and national and support organisations dealt with within 20 days.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

"In the overwhelming majority of cases the NHS does a fantastic job. However, in an organisation of this size, which deals with such a vast and increasing number of patients, there will be occasions when people's experiences of the NHS do not meet their expectations. When that happens boards must listen to and act on that feedback. Indeed, we want and need to hear the views of patients, in particular when things go wrong, so we can learn and do better the next time.

"The number of complaints we are seeing reflects a better awareness of how people can give feedback and make a complaint – and confidence that their complaint will be listened to and acted on. It shows that our work to ensure our NHS is open, transparent and able to learn from mistakes is paying off.

"Prisoners have the same right to make complaints as every other patient and over the last two years prisoners have been able to better access the complaints procedure. This has driven some of the increases we have seen in complaints over the last two years.

"It is also true that our NHS is busier than ever before and we all demand the highest possible quality service when either ourselves or our loved ones receive treatment. That is why we are investing record amounts and have record staffing levels in place to ensure our NHS gets it right and delivers the kind of high quality treatment we rightly demand for every patient."


NHS Scotland Complaints Statistics 2014/15 can be viewed at