Hundreds of complaints over the attitude of hospital staff

IPSWICH: The attitude and behaviour of hospital staff has sparked hundreds of formal complaints, The Evening Star can reveal today.

More than 415 complaints have been made since 2006, all concerning the attitude of staff at Ipswich Hospital.

The data was released by Ipswich Hospital following a Freedom of Information request by the Star and is the latest set back for the beleaguered hospital.

It has previously been revealed that there were a high number of complaints last year but these new figures show a sharp rise in the level of complaints year upon year.

In 2006/7, there were just 23 complaints but by 2008/9 that figure had almost trebled. In 2009/10 more than 120 complaints were submitted and the following year this figure rose by a further 33 per cent to 163.

This included 38 complaints made about the attitude of staff in general surgery, 26 complaints about the staff in the trauma and orthopedics department, 19 regarding the Accident & Emergency department and 18 about the care of the elderly.

In addition, a further 2,055 complaints had been made about other issues including car parking, treatments and cleaning.

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A spokeswoman for the Heath Road hospital said that she was sorry if the attitude of staff was below the standards expected.

The hospital was flung into the spotlight in recent weeks when a damning report revealed serious failings in the care of older patients and this reiterates concerns about the standards of care, according to Dr Dan Poulter, MP.

Dr Poulter, who represents Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said: “I think that these figures highly reflect that people have expectations of the treatment that they should receive in hospital.

“Some things are clearly human error and this can spark complaints, but there should always been a high quality of care.

“I think we do need to shift back to care being a priority over paperwork.

“I would call for action to be taken to ensure the hospital steps up to the mark and lowers these levels of complaints.

“We have already seen in recent weeks that the care for elderly has not been up to scratch, but we can’t let this be a permanent fixture.

“We need to keep patients as the main focus – forget the paperwork and let our doctors and nurses do their jobs.”

Jan Rowsell, a spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said every complaint is thoroughly investigated.

She added: “All patients deserve the highest quality of care and we are very sorry that in these cases the attitude of staff fell below the expected standards.

“Our initial approach is to coach staff and we are prepared to take formal action if appropriate.

“We pride ourselves as an organisation promoting mutual respect. We treat at least 1,000 patients every working day and actively encourage people to give feedback and highlight what we did well and where we need to improve.”

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