New figures show complaints made to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales about Welsh NHS bodies have increased by 8% over the past year.
The Ombudsman has assigned Improvement Officers to five of Wales’ Health Boards :
- Abertawe Bro Morgannwg
- Aneurin Bevan
- Betsi Cadwaladr
- Cwm Taf
- Hywel Dda
The Ombudsman, Nick Bennett, said the continued trend was concerning and called on the Assembly to push forward with new Ombudsman legislation that will help drive up standards of public service delivery.
The Welsh Government says it's working hard to prevent complaints:
A key point to draw out of what the Ombudsman is saying today is around Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
It is this health board that is the cause of most concern for the Ombudsman and it's the complaints about it that have not helped the overall 8% figure. This is made all the more significant since this is a health board that has been put into special measures by the Welsh Government.
It is important, though, to remember the time it takes for complaints made to the Ombudsman to be processed. In may cases, it takes years for complaints to get through the system. It means that while there has been a rise in complaints as described in the report, the situation on the ground in the health board right now may be different.
The hope, of course, is that in future reports from the Ombudsman the number of complaints about Betsi will fall. If it doesn't, more questions will be asked of the government and chief executive about how well this health board is functioning.