Half of complaints to inspectorate about care homes

Half of complaints received by the inspectorate in Scotland over a three-year period were about care homes, figures have revealed.

A Care Inspectorate statistical bulletin on complaints about care services in the country showed although making up only around 12% of the 11,700 registered services, care homes accounted for 50.4% of complaints received – 8,094 over the last three years.

Over the period 2019/20-2021/22, 17.1% of the complaints were about a combined housing support and care at home operation, 13.3% about daycare of children services and 9.8% about standalone homecare.

Of the complaints received, 42.9% came from friends, relatives or visitors of people who experienced care with a further 26.8% from employees (22.1%) or former workers (4.7%). Only 6.8% of complaints made came from people who experienced care themselves.

In 2021/22, the scrutiny body received 5,595 complaints, fewer than before the pandemic in 2019/20 when 5,831 were submitted. However, the overall trend is the number is rising over a 10-year period, which could indicate greater awareness of both the complaints process and the standards of care people should receive.

One-fifth (21%) of complaints received were revoked, with 4,357 complaints resolved. Of the ones resolved 76% were upheld.

In 2021/22, 29% of all areas of complaints upheld were about healthcare concerns in a service, such as medication, infection control or nutrition, while 15% were about wellbeing. This was followed by 14% about communication and 8% about staff.

A breakdown showed 42% (2,374) of the 5,595 complaints received in 2021/22 were about care homes for older people.

The inspectorate received 213 complaints about children and young people services, which include care homes, adoption, fostering, school care accommodation or secure setting services. Three-quarters (74%) were about care homes for children and young people.