Although complaints can be upsetting, they provide an opportunity for doctors and students to resolve patients' concerns about their treatment at an early stage. Anahita Kirkpatrick offers some advice on how handling your complaint well can prevent it from turning more serious
Department of Health figures show complaints about general practitioners' services have increased by 20% a year on average since the NHS complaints system was introduced in April 1996, although the most recent figures show a slight decrease in numbers.1 Patients are no longer passive consumers of the care provided by their doctors. Improved education, increased expectations, the internet, and blanket media coverage of rare extreme cases may be some of the reasons for the increasing number of complaints.
In the Medical Defence Union's experience, complaints about medical students are unusual, but if a complaint were to arise from your involvement, the complaint would be handled in line with NHS complaints procedure. Most complaints are considered at local level through correspondence between the trust and the complainant and possibly a meeting to try to resolve the concerns raised. You are unlikely to be asked to respond directly to the complainant, but