Quality remains despite care complaints rising 20%

Care Inspectorate chief executive Peter Macleod
Peter Macleod, chief executive, Care Inspectorate

Complaints about care in Scotland have risen in the past four years by more than 20%.

A Care Inspectorate report has revealed that the volume of complaints rose from 4,089 in 2015/16 to 4,940 in 2018/19.

The inspectorate, which registers and inspects 12,900 services north of the border, was keen to stress that although complaints received had risen, it was not an indicator that quality of care was in decline.

During the period, the percentage of care services graded ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ remained at 88%.

Most complaints received (46%) were made by friends, relatives or carers of a person.

The majority of the 1,397 complaints investigated in 2018/19 were upheld (58% of completed investigations).

Care homes account for just under 50% of the number of complaints investigated – 2,963 over the past four years.

The report said: ‘We receive, investigate and uphold more complaints about care homes for older people than for any other type of service – 68% of care homes for older people had at least one complaint upheld during 2018/19.

‘Specific healthcare issues such as medication, continence care, inadequate care and treatment, tissue viability, nutrition and hydration are the most frequent types of complaints upheld about care homes for older people, followed by complaints about staff, including staffing levels and qualifications.’

Peter Macleod, Care Inspectorate chief executive, said: ‘We know from our inspections that the majority of care services perform well, and people who rely on them experience good quality care.

‘But where things are not as good as they should be, we work closely with care providers to support them to improve.

‘The rise in complaints brought to us over the past four years may be attributable to the increased awareness of our complaints process and of the standards of care people should expect.’