Fewer NHS complaints in South Tyneside

Fewer complaints were made about GPs and dentists in South Tyneside last year than before the pandemic, new figures show.

NHS complaints.
NHS complaints.

Massive pressure on the GP and dental surgeries since the start of the pandemic - which led to higher demand for medical services and backlogs building for appointments - has caused a surge in complaints nationally.

But new data from NHS Digital shows 256 complaints were made about GPs and dentists in the area in the year to March – down six per cent from the 272 in the year to March 2019.

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NHS Digital did not collate data on complaints for 2019-20 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Of last year's complaints, 32 were fully upheld – meaning the medical provider was found to be in the wrong – down from 2018-19, when 33% of complaints were upheld.

Nationally, GPs accounted for the majority of complaints across the two sectors, with 99,500 made in 2021-22 – up from 72,400 in 2018-19.

Dentists saw a smaller rise, with the number of complaints increasing from 14,100 to 14,300.

The Royal College of GPs said that family doctors were "doing their absolute best in exceptionally difficult circumstances".

Prof Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the organisation, said that "the vast majority” of patients are satisfied with the care they receive and called on the Government to adopt a new recruitment and retention strategy to deal with staffing issues.

Separate figures, also from NHS Digital, show GPs carried out 32 million appointments in October – the highest monthly figure since November 2017.

An NHS England spokesperson said GP staff are working "non-stop" to provide patients with the care they need.