Research carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) shows that one in nine would be reluctant to speak out against poor care.
Out of 1,005 people surveyed by CQC, 11% said they would be unlikely to raise concern or complain about poor care.
Reasons listed include not wanting to be thought of as a trouble maker (26%), that complaining would not make a difference (25%) and that members of staff were so stretched that it would not help (15%).
There was also fear in 11% of respondents that care could get worse if they spoke up.
Care services do not appear to be responding well to those who speak up. More than half (55%) of those who voiced a concern felt that their feedback wasn’t welcomed, and a similar number felt they had not received a satisfactory response (57%).
“It is vital that people feel they can speak out when they experience poor care and that they’re listened to properly,” said David Behan, CQC chief executive.
He added: “In future we’ll be checking whether services are open and encourage people to speak out and respond to what people are telling them.”
CQC carried out the research to follow up on feedback from patient groups and the public that people were too frightened to voice their concerns about poor care.
One of the key findings of the Francis report into the failings of care at Mid Staffordshire Hospital was that people were not listened to properly.
The CQC has been working with voluntary organisations to ensure concerns are passed on quickly, and will continue to encourage people to share their experiences via the CQC website.