Rise in number of complaints about care services, report finds

The number of complaints about care services has risen in the last four years, according to a new report.

In 2017/18 the Care Inspectorate received 4,696 complaints about care services, a 10% increase compared to 2016/17 and up from 4,440 in 2014/15.

However, the organisation said that although levels of complaints received have risen over this period, it does not necessarily indicate that quality of care is in decline.

Comparing 2014/15 to 2017/18, the percentage of services graded good, very good or excellent in all “quality themes” has remained consistently high at 87% and 89% respectively.

Almost half of the complaints (47%) investigated over the four years were about care homes while 21% of the complaints investigated were about daycare of children services.

The report showed that 13% of complaints were about care-at-home services, a further 8% were about childminders and the rest were about other services,

Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: “We know from our inspections that the majority of care services in Scotland perform well, and that people generally experience good-quality, compassionate care which meets their needs, protects their rights and promotes their choices.

“However, where things are not good enough it is important that services improve, quickly.

“Our complaints procedure allows people who experience care, their friends and families, and others, to raise with us concerns they have about care services in Scotland.”

He added: “Today’s report shows that since 2014/15 we have received over 4,000 complaints about care services each year.

“Although levels of complaints received have risen over this period, this is not necessarily an indicator that quality of care is in decline.”

Care services operating in Scotland must be registered with the Care Inspectorate and there are currently almost 13,300 services registered.

More than half (56%) of the 1,435 complaints that were investigated in 2017/18 were upheld.

In 2017/18, just under a quarter (24.6%) of all areas of complaint upheld were about general health and welfare issues in a service.

Almost a fifth (18%) were about specific healthcare concerns (such as medication, nutrition or hydration), and a further 15% were related to staffing concerns, such as staffing levels or staff training.

Most complaints received (45%) over the period were made by friends, relatives or carers of a person who experiences a care service.

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