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Patients worry that making complaints will affect care

About 10% of NHS patients have resisted making complaints about poor standards because they fear complaining would affect the quality of care and treatment they receive, a new study has revealed.

The research highlighted that about two-thirds of patients experiencing problems with their GP or hospital care chose not to complain for other reasons.

More than 5,000 patients were surveyed as part of the report, which revealed the most common reasons for not complaining were that patients don’t believe anyone will listen to them (10.5%) and that the quality of care and treatment they receive will be negatively affected (10.25%).

Medical negligence law firm Fletchers Solicitors carried out the research, which was announced at the start up of year-long campaign, Listening Project, aiming to help investigate ways the NHS can improve its ability to listen to patients.

Over 50% of patients are believed to have said they had, or knew a family member who had, a reason to complain about their treatment, yet less than a third (18%) chose to do so.

“The results are a worrying sign that trust between patients and the NHS is starting to break down,” says Ed Fletcher, CEO of Fletchers Solicitors.

“Many of the people we speak with who have suffered an injury as a result of treatment really just want a clear explanation and apology for what has happened to them, but such transparency is rarely forthcoming.”