COMPLAINTS made to the North Wales health board have rocketed this year.
Figures reveal an increase as high as 128 per cent in the number of concerns raised with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCHUB) – the largest health board in Wales.
Patient complaints and concerns also highlight a dozen ‘Never Ever’ – incidents considered wholly unacceptable and preventable – where people have been given wrong doses of potentially lethal medicines, or the wrong limb treated.
The report says 12 incidents, that have been identified since the end of March 2013, is considered “an extremely high number” for any organisation.
BCUHB has said “significant improvements” will need to be made to build up public confidence.
The figures have revealed there have been 74 incidents in 2012/13 and only seven had had closure reports, and so far in 2013/14, 95 incidents are overdue for closure.
It also revealed that in April 2011, complaints averaged 40 per month – in August 2013, there were 152, and in October 2013, there were 161.
Antoinette Sandbach AM has slammed the report and is urging Health Minister Mark Drakeford to take action to ensure BCUHB clears the “massive” backlog of complaints and deals with new ones correctly.
Ms Sandbach said: “There has been a 128 per cent increase in complaints to BCUHB, with a long backlog of cases not being resolved.
“Many people have waited for more than a year for the review to be concluded and a high percentage of them are unhappy.”
A BCUHB spokesman said: “A review in the management of patient complaints and concerns (under the Putting Things Right legislation) was commissioned by Angela Hopkins, executive director of nursing and midwifery, in August, 2013. The full report from this review will be presented to the board in the New Year.
“The health board has put in place a number of actions already to robustly manage the closure of incidents/events, reduce the current backlog and eradicate any future backlog.
“We are working closely with the community health council which has raised concerns on behalf of the public in respect of complaints management.
“We also recognise we must respond to patients and provide support in a timely manner and significant improvements will need to be made to build up public confidence.”
The report states: “The current performance is not acceptable and the legacy position, which has become very clear in the last couple of months, must be resolved as soon as possible.”