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Ombudsman urges GPs to “learn from their mistakes”

19 October 2010

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GPs need to take more notice of complaints labelled against them, a report from the health service ombudsman has revealed.

The study, carried out by Ann Abraham, examined 15,579 complaints made about the NHS in England in 2009/10.

GPs, who received 2,429 (17%) complaints, were second only to hospital, specialist and teaching trusts, which attracted 6,304 complaints (44%).

Overall, 63% of all complaints investigated and reported by the ombudsman were upheld or partly upheld, with 56% of complaints labelled against GPs upheld or partly upheld, while 80% of 659 complaints about dentists were upheld or partly upheld.

Ms Abraham revealed that medical practitioners could learn a lot from their mistakes and should be encouraged to rectify their practise when things go wrong.

She said: “Many of the lessons that can be learnt from complaints are straightforward and cost little or nothing to implement at local level: a commitment to apologising when things go wrong; clear and prompt explanations of what has happened; improved record keeping and better information for patients about how to complain.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Health Service Ombudsman report