Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews Wounded Healer

Clare Gerada: We need a complaints code of conduct

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 07 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l59
  1. Clare Gerada, GP partner
  1. Hurley Group, London, UK
  1. clare.gerada{at}
    Follow Clare on Twitter: @ClareGerada

The number of complaints against NHS staff is rising, possibly resulting (rightly) from better systems and general encouragement to complain if patients have concerns about their care. Complaints increased by 5% between 2016 and 2017.1 I have received my fair share of complaints, and all have affected me personally.

Patients must be able to complain when things have not gone as they should. But a complaint, no matter how trivial, is a powerful trigger for mental illness. A survey of nearly 8000 doctors found that 77% who had received a complaint were more likely to suffer moderate to severe depression and had twice the risk of moderate to severe anxiety compared to those with no history of a complaint.2 …

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