Angry patients and relatives have lodged 726 formal complaints against Staffordshire’s two main hospitals.
They were lodged in 2019/20 and represent an 8.5 per cent increase on the previous 12-month period.
A StokeonTrentLive investigation has also found that 687 complaints were resolved by University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Stoke University Hospital and Stafford’s County Hospital, in 2019/20.
Of those, 172 complaints were upheld, 356 were partially upheld, and 159 were not upheld.
Ray Mobberley lodged a complaint earlier this year after his cancer-hit wife, Kathleen, was admitted to the Royal Stoke with a suspected blood clot during the coronavirus pandemic. He says she was wrongly put on a coronavirus ward. She later contracted the virus and passed away.
The 74-year-old, from Forsbrook, said: “In my opinion, the hospital has forgotten about patients. I have a friend down the road who has been waiting a year for a shoulder pain injection after a fall and I’ve had to help her make a written complaint. Now she is down for a possible appointment.
“They should reopen the community hospitals for coronavirus patients. The acute hospital is overrun and they can’t do anything else for people in need. I know several people who have just been left waiting when they need an appointment.
“It’s not right for people to be denied treatment or put on Covid wards when they come in with any respiratory illness.”
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The number of formal complaints has reduced during the coronavirus pandemic.
Debra Meehan, UHNM’s acting director of nursing quality and safety, said: “We welcome feedback from our patients and hearing about their experiences. This enables us to learn and improve care for the future.
“So far this year, UHNM has seen a 33 per cent reduction in formal complaints with 350 opened across both hospitals compared to the same period last year.
“We endeavour to ensure that all our patients receive the very best possible care and aim to resolve any issues or concerns they may have as quickly as possible.”