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More seek help with complaints over NHS

By Victoria O'Hara

The number of people wanting help to complain about the health service in Northern Ireland has risen by 19% in the last year, according to the Patient Client Council.

In the past year 2,308 people used the complaints support service with 1,112 making formal grievances.

The annual report for 2014/15 found the largest number of complaints were about treatment and care (58%), communication (21%), staff attitude (21%), and waiting times (15.8%).

A further breakdown about staff attitude showed complaints were sparked by doctors or nurses 'minimising' concerns and making comparisons such as saying: "I've got patients in worse pain than you."

It also said medical staff attempting to be "humorous or charming" leads to complaints. One patient reported being told: "You're too young and pretty to have cancer."

Louise Skelly, head of operations with the PCC, said: "Failure to address these recurrent issues is not fair to patients, or to the staff who are doing a good job." Evidence of improvements, as a result of complaints, could go a long way to improving confidence in Health and Social Care services."

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