What private patients gripe about

Private patients’ grievances against consultants and medical care accounted for the most heads of complaint received by the Indep­endent Sector Complaints Adjud­ication Service (ISCAS) last year.

ISCAS’s annual report to March 2023 says the complaints about doctors concerned information about fees, consent, managing expectations, information and advice about procedures, record- keeping/documentation and apologies.

Complaints against consultants accounted for 29% of the total, with complaints handling coming in second at 27%, clinical/non-medical and nursing (10%), accommodation 9% and discharge 6%.

A total of 550 complainants contacted ISCAS with a concern, down from 672 the previous year.

The independent complaints service, subscribed to by the majority of large private healthcare providers, says some complainants had unrealistic expectations about the possible outcomes of adjudication – seeking a refund, revision surgery and/or financial compensation. 

Most (71%) complaint heads were either ‘upheld’ or ‘partially upheld’ by adjudicators – a significant increase from the 57% reported the previous year.

Individual ISCAS subscribers paid an average £1,687 for adjudications, a 9% decrease from £1,856 in the previous financial year.

A total of 12% of cases required expert clinical advice, a decrease from 16% the year before. 

Total costs associated with expert clinical advice came to £21,200 – an average of £1,927 a case. 

These were down from £27,633 and £1,973.

Goodwill payment awards rose from £38,776 to £53,910.

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