Complaints against GPs have risen 11 per cent in a year, figures show.

Statistics from the NHS Information Centre show written complaints against NHS GPs and dentists in England rose from 43,942 in 2007-08 to 48,597 in 2008-09.

There were 11,003 complaints about poor communication or attitude, 7,448 complaints about GP administration and 6,045 complaints about surgery management

Many GP surgeries attributed the increase to their own efforts in raising patients’ awareness of their right to complain.

But the figures will also put the controversial 2004 GP contract back in the spotlight and raise questions about out of hours services.

Critics say the contract has given GPs a hefty pay rise while surgeries have at the same time cut back on their evening and weekend services.

In total, between April 2008 and March 2009, there were 14,866 complaints about clinical care.

There were 11,003 complaints about poor communication or attitude, 7,448 complaints about GP administration and 6,045 complaints about surgery management.

Last week a coroner found pensioner David Gray was unlawfully killed after he was given a fatal overdose by a foreign doctor working out of hours.

The inquest hearing was followed by the publication of a government-ordered review of out of hours care, which said trusts were failing to carry out thorough checks on GPs providing out of hours care.

The Department of Health said: “All patients deserve the highest quality of care from the NHS. Where care falls below expected standards, this can be distressing for the patients concerned and their families and we expect trusts to take immediate action to investigate and ensure this does not happen again.”