Almost a third of complaints about NHS standards are not being handled properly, according to the official health watchdog.
The Healthcare Commission claims in a report released today that many hospital managers, doctors and nurses do not listen to complaints or learn from their mistakes.
The way some trusts deal with grievances is fragmented and inconsistent, it says.
In its first audit of how complaints are managed, the watchdog sent warnings to 30 NHS trusts and told 12 of them there had been a “significant lapse” in how they handled patients’ concerns.
In the first instance, patients with a grievance must raise it with the healthcare provider involved, such as their GP, NHS trust, dentist or optician.
If they are not satisfied with the response, they can ask the Healthcare Commission to review their case.
The watchdog receives about 8,000 requests each year, and nearly a third of them are sent back to the trust for further action.