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More than half of people have difficulty making a complaint says Healthwatch Lancashire

Results of a Healthwatch Lancashire report into health and social care complaints has revealed that more than half of 136 people spoke with in Lancashire said it wasn’t easy to make a complaint and were not happy with the outcome.

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Healthwatch Lancashire undertook a study to find out how easy people find it to share feedback with local services and if they have made a complaint, how they feel about the process and the outcome they received.

The report shows that 55% of people found it difficult to make a complaint and the same number of people were unhappy with the outcome with the main reasons being a lack of information, poor communications and difficulties with the complaints process.

In addition, 52% of people said that they felt they needed to complain to a health and social care service in the last 12 months but decided not to. For a quarter of those, the main reason people say they didn’t complain was fear of repercussion, whilst 19% said they didn’t know who to speak to.

The report highlights that the majority of complaints related to hospitals, with 47% of those surveyed saying they made a complaint getting no response or action.

One respondent said: “I told my midwife five days after, as this was the first time I saw my regular midwife who I felt comfortable with and she gave me a feedback form and then I sent it away and didn’t hear anything back.”

Another said: “It was easy to send an email but we didn’t get a response.”

In addition, Healthwatch Lancashire has identified a trend of people with mental health concerns not being able to get the support they need through the complaints process. This has been picked up through a large volume of telephone calls Healthwatch Lancashire has received over the past 12 months.

Sheralee Turner-Birchall, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Lancashire, said: “Healthwatch Lancashire would like to thank all members of the public who shared their valuable feedback both through our online survey and at our engagement activities at GP practices, hospitals, pharmacies and community group workshops.

“The findings have been shared with those who plan, run and regulate health and social care services within Lancashire including NHS England, clinical commissioning groups, Lancashire County Council and the Care Quality Commission.”

The full report ‘Sharing your feedback & complaints in Lancashire’ is available to read and download from the Healthwatch Lancashire website at www.healthwatchlancashire.co.uk/reports