Patients happier with their treatment

18:42, Feb 02 2014

Fewer patients are laying complaints with the South Canterbury District Health Board.

There were 15 complaints made in April last year. That figure fluctuated slightly throughout the rest of the year, but never topped the April total.

Five complaints were received in June, four in August and three in December. The number was slightly higher in July with nine, there were 11 in September and October, and 10 in November.

Health board chief executive Nigel Trainor said fewer complaints meant more time could be spent in other areas. "It takes up a lot of resource to respond to those."

However, any complaints were taken "very seriously".

The health board made contact with people very early to try to come up with a resolution, he said.


"I think that has been relatively successful. We're getting our staff to deal with [the issues] when they arise and working on improving the service delivery."

Mr Trainor said the time it took to resolve a complaint often depended on what it was.

"Every single complaint needs to be investigated."

That could involve reading hospital notes, looking at other evidence and interviewing people.

A report has been completed by the health board to determine what the most common complaints were over the past year.

Mr Trainor said treatment and communication were at the top of that list.

The board resolved nine complaints in December. Six were resolved within the 23 working days deadline.

However, all complaints received in November were resolved within the deadline.

There was one complaint regarding the health board to the health and disability commissioner between November and December.

That complaint was in regard to the treatment of and communication with a relative of the complainant.

On the plus side, the health board received four compliments in November and December, each directed at the medical ward team.

The Timaru Herald