Northern Ireland news

Complaints to Public Services Ombudsman rise for third year in a row

Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman Marie Anderson

COMPLAINTS to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman have increased for the third year in a row.

According to the office's annual report, it received 762 new complaints in 2018-19 - a rise of 15 per cent in the last year.

The majority of complaints were about health and social care issues, including delays in care and treatment, misdiagnosis, poor communication with patients and their families, and complaints about eligibility for continuing healthcare.

A total of 40 per cent of complaints made last year related to health and social care.

A further 19 per cent of complaints were about government departments and agencies, 12 per cent were about education, 10 per cent were about local councils and 10 per cent were about housing.

In her final annual report before leaving office, ombudsman Marie Anderson said some bodies, including the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, had improved how they handle complaints.

She said the passing of the Public Services Ombudsman Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 had made it easier for the public to complain.

"As a result of the progress made over the last three years I am proud to say that Northern Ireland is now able to boast the existence of a modern, forward thinking Ombudsman's office capable of investigating complaints about public services," she said.

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