MORE than 600 complaints have been made against NHS Borders, recent data shows.

According to data collected by Public Health Scotland, 650 complaints were made about NHS Borders in the period 2022-23 – marking a 178 increase on 2021-22 (472 complaints).

In its own data, NHS Borders has highlighted five 'top issues' relating to complaints made about the health board.

The top five reasons for complaints in 2022-23 were:

  1. Clinical treatment
  2. Attitude and behaviour
  3. Communication (oral)
  4. Date of appointment
  5. Communication (written)

According to NHS Borders' data the number of complaints in these top five areas increased from 2021-22, including in clinical treatment, which more than doubled from 101 complaints in 2021-22 to 228 in the last financial period.

An NHS Borders spokesperson said: “We welcome and encourage feedback from patients, carers and family members. We have seen an increase in complaints relating to waiting times for treatment in 2022/23 reflecting the delays being experienced across the health and social care system. This is an area of focus for the Scottish Borders Health and Social Care Partnership to ensure people receive timely access to care and treatment.

“All patient feedback including complaints is routinely used along with other sources of information to inform our service improvements and the way we transform services for the future.”

In response to the Public Health Scotland data released last month, Border MP John Lamont, of the Conservatives, levied criticisms at the Scottish Government over its management of the health board and wider NHS in Scotland.

He said: "The crisis in Scotland’s NHS is getting worse. The SNP Government must take urgent action to prevent this concerning situation spiralling further.

“Despite the best efforts of hardworking NHS staff, patients are waiting far too long for essential and emergency treatment.

“Humza Yousaf must start to focus on fixing frontline services.”

In reply, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The NHS provides excellent care for the vast majority of patients. But on the occasions where it does fall short of expectations, Boards and independent contractors must listen and act. That is why we have set out the standard Model Complaints Handling Procedure, in place across every NHS Board.

“It is encouraging to see overall complaints reduce to pre-pandemic levels. However, we know NHS Boards still have more to do to reach the target of closing complaints within the agreed timescales of five days for stage 1 complaints, and 20 days for stage 2 complaints.

“We are committed to openness and transparency in an NHS that welcomes and encourages all forms of feedback and uses it to inform continuous learning and improvement.”