The health service received an average of 309 complaints every week last year, new figures show.

A total of 16,065 complaints were made by patients and service users during 2022, representing an increase of five per cent from the previous year.

The top category of complaints was safe and effective care, accounting for 5,750 complaints, which includes issues relating to misdiagnosis, poor hygiene, medication errors, and mislaid test samples.

READ MORE: Cash-strapped HSE owed €235m by patients and insurance companies for unpaid charges

This was followed by 5,484 complaints relating to communication and information, and 4,280 relating to access. A total of 1,964 complaints were received in relation to dignity and respect.

Voluntary hospitals, which include Beaumont, Crumlin Children’s Hospital and National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street, were the subject of 7,300 complaints last year – an increase of 23 per cent compared to 2021.

The number of complaints in relation to statutory hospitals, which are directly managed by the Health Service Executive (HSE), fell by four per cent to 3,415 in 2022.

Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) attracted 1,099 complaints last year, which was 14 per cent fewer than in 2021; while there were 46 complaints about the National Ambulance Service.

There was a 72 per cent reduction in the number of complaints about the National Forensic Mental Health Service, which was the subject of just 25 complaints; while other voluntary hospitals and agencies accounted for 3,930 complaints.

The HSE has a Your Service, Your Say office, which encourages patients and service users to give feedback on their experience of hospitals and community healthcare outlets.

Last year, it received 14,102 comments, compliments, complaints and queries. However, 83 per cent of these were specifically complaints, and just nine per cent were compliments.

A further 311 were classed as "comments" falling into neither category, and 872 were queries.

In its annual report, the HSE’s National Complaints Governance and Learning Team revealed that it had carried out a review of the overall complaint-handling process at an unnamed site at the request of the Office of the Ombudsman after a complaint was escalated to his office.

It resulted in 23 recommendations being made. By October 2022, it was reported that 14 of these had been fully implemented, while nine had been partially implemented and were progressing.

Join the Irish Mirror’s breaking news service on WhatsApp. Click this link to receive breaking news and the latest headlines direct to your phone. We also treat our community members to special offers, promotions, and adverts from us and our partners. If you don’t like our community, you can check out any time you like. If you’re curious, you can read our Privacy Notice.