NHS SERVICES in Yorkshire received more than 18,000 complaints last year, new figures have shown.
There were around 350 written complaints every week about NHS services in the region in 2014/15, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
That includes 10,400 about hospital and community health services, a higher total than the previous year, and 7,965 to GPs and dentists.
More than half of the complaints about hospital and community services - 5,303 - were about the medical profession, including hospital doctors and surgeons. Nurses, midwives and health visitors accounted for the second biggest number of complaints - 2,063.
Patient watchdog Healthwatch England said the number of complaints nationwide was “disheartening” and that the true number of people who wish to complain was much higher than official figures suggest. It is calling for a reform of the complaints system to make it easier for patients and their families to raise concerns.
Of the hospital trusts in the region, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which has hospitals in Wakefield, Pontefract and Dewsbury, received the most complaints at 1,427, followed by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals with 877 and Leeds at 854.
Dawn Parkes, deputy chief nurse at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The trust has a robust and accessible complaints procedure to ensure concerns are fully addressed and that the patient experience is continually improved.”
Professor Hilary Chapman of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust said the number of complaints received represented less than 0.1 per cent of patients seen and fell by eight per cent from the previous year.
The highest concentration of complaints about hospital and community services across the region was in West Yorkshire where there were 5,106. North Yorkshire and the Humber NHS services received 2,537 complaints, while 2,757 were in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.
In total, there were 205,000 written complaints about NHS services last year nationwide - or 562 per day.
Changes in how data about family health, including GP practices, is collected means the broader figure cannot be compared with previous years.
But analysis of the number of complaints received about hospital and community services shows a rise of 5.7 per cent year-on-year.
In 2013/14, there were 174,872 written complaints, although the HSCIC said this figure could not be compared with the new data.
Anna Bradley, chairwoman of Healthwatch England, said: “It’s disheartening to see that more people have made written complaints to the NHS in the past 12 months. But we know that, whatever the number, these figures don’t even tell the full story.
“In fact, as many as five times this number of people actually want to complain - but they don’t know how to, or don’t think it is worthwhile taking the time to.”