HUNDREDS of written complaints were made against GP surgeries in the Dudley borough last year, new figures show.

NHS Digital figures show that 299 written complaints were made against doctors’ surgeries in the NHS Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in 2018-19.

Of the 278 resolved – some were carried forward or left until the next year – 39 per cent were fully upheld, and 18 per cent partially upheld.

One GP surgery - Lion Health in Stourbridge - received 31 written complaints last year.

Of 30 resolved, 15 were fully upheld and nine partially.

The most common reason for complaints against GP surgeries in the area was communication.

Dudley CCG is made up of all the GP practices in the Dudley metropolitan borough divided into six Primary Care Networks:

Sedgley, Coseley and Gornal; Dudley and Netherton; Kingswinford and Wordsley; Brierley Hill; Stourbridge; Wollescote and Lye; and Halesowen.

Across England, many complaints related to difficult communication with surgeries, with the British Medical Association saying issues are caused by doctors too stretched to spend enough time with patients.

GPs were the most common subject of complaints, mentioned in 39 per cent of new cases – followed by administrative staff including receptionists (26 per cent) and cases in which no staff were involved or staff were categorised as other (24 per cent).

Across England, nearly 93,000 complaints were made against primary care givers in 2018-19.

For GPs, they most commonly cited communications or staff attitudes, behaviour and values.

The British Medical Association’s GP committee chair, Dr Richard Vautrey, said: “This survey shows much of the dissatisfaction felt by patients stems from communication problems, rather than clinical errors, and doctors know that they simply don’t have enough time to spend with their patients and cope with rising demand, with the risk that communication issues could arise.

“All clinicians want to do their jobs safely, but need the time, resources and funding to be able to do that.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “As a profession, we are facing immense workforce pressures with a huge increase in patient numbers coupled with a shortage of doctors to care for them. Inevitably, this will occasionally impact on the service we can deliver, and this can be frustrating for patients – and for GPs.”

While NHS Digital said that data quality issues meant complaints could not be compared year-on-year, the figures show that 341 written complaints were submitted against GPs in the Dudley CCG in 2017-18, and 45 against dentists.

NHS dentists in the CCG received a further 49 written complaints in 2018-19 – 26 were fully upheld and one partially.

A spokeswoman for Dudley CCG said it does not deal with complaints, which are passed to NHS England.