ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

For What Reasons Do Patients File a Complaint? A Retrospective Study on Patient Rights Units’ Registries
Gülsüm Önal 1, M. Murat Civaner 2
1Clinical Research Ethics Committee, Şişli Etfal Training and Research Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey
2Department of Medical Ethics, Uludağ University Faculty of Medicine, Bursa, Turkey
DOI : 10.5152/balkanmedj.2015.15433
Pages : 17-22


Background: In 2004, Patient Rights Units were established in all public hospitals in Turkey to allow patients to voice their complaints about services.

Aims: To determine what violations are reflected into the complaint mechanism, the pattern over time, and patients’ expectations of the services.

Study Design: Descriptive study.

Methods: A retrospective study performed using the complaint database of the Istanbul Health Directorate, from 2005 to 2011.

Results: The results indicate that people who are older than 40 years, women, and those with less than high school education are the most common patients in these units. A total of 218,186 complaints were filed. Each year, the number of complaints increased compared to the previous year, and nearly half of the applications were made in 2010 and 2011 (48.9%). The three most frequent complaints were “not benefiting from services in general” (35.4%), “not being treated in a respectable manner and in comfortable conditions” (17.8%), and “not being properly informed” (13.5%). Two-thirds of the overall applications were found in favour of the patients (63.3%), and but this rate has decreased over the years.

Conclusion: Patients would like to be treated in a manner that respects their human dignity. Educating healthcare workers on communication skills might be a useful initiative. More importantly, health policies and the organisation of services should prioritise patient rights. It is only then would be possible to exercise patient rights in reality.

Keywords : Communication, health services administration, medical ethics, quality improvement, patient rights
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