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Number of complaints about doctors made by both colleagues and patients more than doubles since 2007
General Medical Council report showed more complaints are being made each year Most concerns raised by patients and their family members Large number of complaints made by doctors about each other Female practitioners are less likely to be complained about than their male colleagues, research says GPs over 50 received more complaints than younger doctors
By Jennifer Smith PUBLISHED: 00:39 GMT, 16 October 2013 | UPDATED: 00:39 GMT, 16 October 2013

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The number of complaints about doctors made by their colleagues or patients is on the rise, according to new figures. Data from the General Medical Council (GMC) shows a jump in both patient complaints and the number of doctors willing to speak up about the poor standards of other medics. In 2012, the GMC received 8,109 complaints - a 24 per cent increase since 2011 and a 104 per cent increase since 2007.

New figures have revealed the number of complaints made about doctors is on the rise

The new data reveals that between 2007 and 2012, the overall number of complaints from the public rose by 87 per cent to 5,014. While most came from patients and their friends and relatives, a significant amount were made by doctors' employers and concerned colleagues. The GMC, which regulates around 250,000 doctors in the UK, said the overall number of complaints is very small when the number of interactions between doctors and patients is taken into account. The Council said the high expectations of patients and willingness of some doctors to point out areas of concern compared to others should be taken into account when considering the rise. Overall, 54 per cent of the complaints were about clinical care and communication with patients. Many made by doctors (38 per cent) concerned conflict of interest or criminal convictions held by their colleagues. Among the public, people aged 46 to 60 were the most likely to complain, with women more likely to speak up than men. GPs were more likely to be complained about than other doctors, and male medics were twice as likely to attract criticism than their female counterparts. Twenty-two per cent of male GPs received a complaint compared with just 11 per cent of female GPs. The number of doctors aged over 50 who were complained about was higher than for doctors aged 30 to 50.

Female GPs were less likely to be complained about than their male colleagues, according to the study. Posed by models

This was particularly true for GPs, the State of Medical Education and Practice report showed. A third of all complaints received met the threshold for a full investigation by the GMC, but only 20 per cent of those lodged by the public satisfied the same criteria. Eighty-four per cent of all concerns raised by employers merited an investigation, as did 48 per cent of those made by doctors. Professor Sir Peter Rubin, chair of the GMC, said: 'Overall the standard of care that patients receive in the UK is good and doctors continue to deserve the trust and respect of the public. 'The GMC has an important role to play in protecting patients and ensuring that doctors practise to the highest possible standard. 'Complaints from members of the public, doctors and other professionals are invaluable in helping us to do this. 'Complaints also give the health service a chance to reflect and improve the care that patients receive. 'However what our report shows is that some patients dont know where to go to raise a concern about their treatment and more needs to be done to help them raise issues. 'Making a complaint about a doctor can be stressful and it is important that concerns are raised with the right organisation so patients are not passed from pillar to post.' ends Anna Bradley, chair of Healthwatch England, said: 'Its no surprise that people dont know who to go to with their complaint as the system is far too complex. 'Most patients and people receiving care dont know the difference between the GMC, the Care Quality Commission and their local complaints advocacy services. They just want their complaint dealt with. 'But people arent just failing to report complaints because they dont know where to go. 'We know from our own research that more than half of those who experienced a problem in the last three

years didnt report it because they simply didnt trust the system to listen or take any action. 'We all have a right to safe, dignified and high quality care, backed up by an effective complaints system for when things go wrong. The Healthwatch network can play a central role helping people understand where to go with their complaint, making things as simple and straightforward as possible.'

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Comments (1)
Share what you think Newest Oldest Best rated Worst rated View all Report comment Jane55, Lincolnshire, 2 hours ago Does the survey say what nationalalities these doctors or nurses are by any chance as it said in another article the other day that hospitals were going abroad to recruit nurses why not recruit from here you're not telling me there are none wanting a job.

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