• Regulator wants public to share experiences of care
  • Third of patients did not want to be viewed as a “troublemaker”
  • Main cause of complaints is delays, poor information and communication

The Care Quality Commission is calling on the public to speak up about their experiences of care in the NHS, after new research showed millions of patients who had concerns never raised them.

The watchdog said 7 million people with experience of health or social care services in the last five years had concerns but did not speak out. More than half, 58 per cent, of these people regretted not doing so.

According to the CQC, a fifth of people were not aware of how to raise concerns while a third did not know who they should speak to. Another third said they didn’t want to be viewed as a “troublemaker”. Over a third, 37 per cent, of people felt nothing would change if they did raise a complaint.

But the CQC said, when people did speak up, two-thirds said their issue was resolved quickly and they were happy with the result.

The main reasons for raising a concern were delays to a service or appointment, lack of information and poor patient care. 

The care quality regulator is publishing the research today as part of the launch of a campaign to encourage the public to share their experiences with the CQC.

As part of the research, 2,002 people who had experienced care in the past five years were interviewed between 29 November and 14 December 2018. The full data is here.

The regulator does not investigate individual complaints but can use the experiences of patients to target its inspections of hospital trusts and care homes.

Ian Trenholm, chief executive of the CQC, said: “We know that when people raise a concern they have a genuine desire to improve the service for themselves and others. We also know that the majority of services really appreciate this feedback and make positive changes, as this new research shows.

“Hearing from people about their experiences of care is an important part of our inspection work and contributes to driving improvements in standards of care. Everyone can play a part in improving care by directly giving feedback to services, or by sharing information and experiences with us so that we can take action when we find poor care.

“Sharing your experience also enables us to highlight the many great examples of care we see.”