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How do NHS professionals make sense of patient complaints?


NHS staff on the receiving end of patient complaints rationalise motives in ways that marginalise patient concerns, a new study has found.

Researchers at King’s College, London, found staff often discussed complaints as coming from ‘inexpert, distressed or advantage-seeking’ patients.

This fascinating study sheds light on why patient complaints do not always have the desired effect or generate improvements in patient experience.

Analysis of in-depth discussions with NHS professionals at eight trusts found health professionals perceived patient complaints about care as a 'breach of fundamental relationships’.

It was rare for professionals to describe complaints raised by patients as grounds for improving the quality of care, the study noted.

Researchers concluded that health policy directives that promote complaints as ‘learning opportunities' must account for sociological factors including how patient agency is perceived and how professionalism operates in modern healthcare.

Read the full study here.




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