Medical Negligence

Only 2 in 5 Brits are likely to complain about poor medical treatment, new data has discovered

November 3, 2022
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Brits are known for being polite. Stereotypically, we don’t like to cause offence and will hold our tongue even when something has gone wrong that’s affected our lives.

This is particularly true when it comes to our medical treatment, but not speaking up could have grave health consequences for the individual…

To find out more about how confident customers and patients feel complaining about substandard service, we conducted a survey of 2,500 nationally representative Brits on the topic…[vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#164c48″]Worryingly, the results discovered that Britons are more likely to complain about a poor delivery service (e.g if a parcel arrives damaged or is delivered to the wrong address) than insufficient medical care.

Moreover, the research indicates that overall, 60% of Brits are unlikely to complain about the poor medical care they’ve received.


If you feel uneasy or uncomfortable with a diagnosis from your doctor, it’s always worth speaking up. Research from the Mayo Clinic in 2017 discovered that when patients requested a second opinion following a diagnosis they disagreed with, 1 in 5 received a completely different diagnosis (Source).

Survey participants were asked for the main reasons that would lead them to make a formal complaint. The top answers, in order of popularity, were if the issue had:

  1. Cost them money
  2. Posed a risk to their health
  3. Damaged their possession/s
  4. Resulted in them not receiving the service that they deserve
  5. Cost them time
  6. Affected the way they look

[vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#164c48″]To see Brits putting financial issues ahead of their health indicates that many may not realise the life-threatening implications that could result from substandard healthcare.

Moreover, nearly HALF of Brits agreed that the main reason they’d avoid raising their problem or concern is that “the issue is not a big enough deal to complain about”.

Additional reasons leading to not filing a complaint, in order of popularity, were:

  • I don’t know if complaining will make a difference
  • I don’t want to make a scene
  • I don’t want to offend the person who provided the service or get them into trouble
  • I don’t want to embarrass myself

[vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#164c48″]Additionally, 1 in 5 Brits admitted that they don’t feel confident enough to make a complaint because they don’t know their rights. But raising a complaint about substandard medical care is important. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable at the time, but could end up saving yours, or a loved one’s, life.

When a complaint is made, this may lead onto a referral, which could allow you the opportunity to receive the correct treatment or diagnosis in a timely manner. It can also mean that processes within the healthcare service are assessed and improved; ensuring that care for those that come after you is as good as it can be. If you feel even slightly uncomfortable with your diagnosis or the care you’ve received as a patient, it’s crucial that you speak up before it’s too late.

Symptoms which appear minor to the untrained eye can sometimes turn out to be red-flag indications of a more serious condition, which should be spotted straight away by a professional. Though you may brush off a diagnosis you disagree with if you feel the issue isn’t big enough, your health should never be dismissed. Medical professionals only want the best for you, so speaking up if you’re not happy is important – doctors and nurses are there to help you.

Brits are known for being very conscious of causing offence. And particularly after the strains of COVID, we all know how hard medical professionals work to keep us safe, putting our own safety ahead of theirs. However, it’s important for your own health, and peace of mind, to raise any issue you have to help with your future. If a doctor has indeed made a mistake, they will want to know in order to make things better.

If you think you have suffered as a result of substandard medical treatment, then we can help. Visit our medical negligence hub here or speak to us today for free legal advice on 0330 013 0251.

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