About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides information on the total number of complaints received by NHSScotland organisations from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.  

Main points

  • The total number of complaints received by NHSScotland increased by 2% from 35,172 in 2021/22, to 35,720 complaints in 2022/23.  
  • NHS Territorial and Special Boards complaints increased by 1% to 23,537 from 23,295.  
  • NHS Contractor complaints increased by 3% to 12,183, (previously 11,877). Of this total, Independent GP Practice contractor complaints decreased by 3% to 7,137 (previously 7,356) and Independent Pharmacy contractors increased by 9% to 3,883 (previously 3,572). 
  • The total number of complaints that were closed in 2022/23 by NHS boards remained steady with a very slight decrease (from 21,774 to 21,768). This does not include contractor data, withdrawn cases or cases where consent was not received.  
  • Stage one (early resolution) complaints closed (11,105) accounted for 51% of all complaints closed. The same as the previous year. 
  • Stage two (investigation) complaints closed (7,902) accounted for 36% of overall complaints closed, a decrease of 1% on the previous year. 
  • 2,761 stage two escalated complaints closed (those unable to be resolved at stage one) accounted for 13% of overall complaints. 
  • The percentage of complaints upheld at stage one (33%) increased by 2 percentage points. The percentage of complaints upheld at stage two (26%) increased by 1 percentage point. The percentage of stage two escalated complaints upheld (33%) has decreased by 1 percentage point since 2021/22. 
  • Within their agreed timescales, 70% of stage one complaints were closed on time within five working days (a decrease of 3 percentage points), 45% of non-escalated stage two complaints were closed on time within 20 working days (decrease of 7 percentage points) and 35% of stage two escalated complaints were closed on time within 20 working days (increase of 4 percentage points). 

Background

This report provides information on NHSScotland complaints received about hospital and community health services, family health services, special boards and national and support organisations. 

It includes the number of complaints received; the time taken to deal with complaints and the outcome of complaints. The individual NHS Board's Complaints and Feedback reports include; issues raised; actions taken; service areas and staff groups who were the subject of complaints, though this varies between the NHS Boards. 

Our complaints process provides two opportunities to resolve (close) complaints internally: Early resolution, and Investigation. More details are found in The NHS Model Complaints Handling Procedure.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be December 2024.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact Camilla Somers at phs.statsgov@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 24 November 2023
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