NHS complaints: 50% rise in hygiene and hand washing complaints for GP and dentists during first year of Covid pandemic

Hundreds of patients made written complaints about hygiene standards concerning hands or equipment in GP and dental surgeries

<p>More than 300 formal complaints about hygiene in GP and dentistry services were lodged in England during the first year of the Covid pandemic</p>

More than 300 formal complaints about hygiene in GP and dentistry services were lodged in England during the first year of the Covid pandemic

More than 300 formal complaints about hygiene in GP and dentistry services were lodged in England during the first year of the Covid pandemic, with more than two-thirds concerning lax hand washing.

New data from NHS Digital shows 361 written complaints were made about hygiene in primary care providers between  1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, up from 242 in 2018-19, which is a 49% rise.

Primary care providers include GPs and dentists, but not hospital and community health services. No data was collected in 2019-20, to reduce the burden on providers as the pandemic struck.

Out of the total complaints, 242 were about hygiene including hand hygiene or similar concerns, with 193 submitted to GP surgeries and 44 to dental practices. Five more were made directly to NHS England, but about GPs or dental practices.

This was a 30% increase in total complaints for the same category in the 2018-19 period.

Just under a third of hygiene-related complaints concerned equipment, which could include issues around unsterile instruments.

GP surgeries received 101 such complaints, dental practices 13, and NHS England five. These complaints were up 113% on 2018-19.

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Other complaints made to the NHS included areas such as appointment availability, clinical treatment and delays in diagnosis.

There were a total of 86,114 complaints made about primary care in 2020-21, which equated to 152.3 per 100,000 people.

However, this is lower than in 2018-19, where there were a total of 92,677 primary care complaints, or 165.6 per 100,000 people.

When looking at hospital and community health services, there were an additional 83,899complaints in 2020-21, which equates to 148.4 per 100,000 people.

This was also a drop from 116,247 in 2018-19, which was 207.7 per 100,000 people.

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