Only 2 in 5 Brits are likely to complain about poor medical treatment

Research has found that 60% of Brits are unlikely to complain about poor medical treatment, which experts warn could lead to lifelong illness or even death.


A survey of 2,500 nationally representative Brits, conducted by medical negligence specialists, Fletchers Solicitors, has lifted the lid on how likely we are to complain about a subpar service and the risks attached with not feeling confident enough to do so. 

Astonishingly, 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 subpar medical care. 

Experts warn that not complaining about substandard healthcare, such as a delayed or incorrect diagnosis, could have fatal consequences.

A spokesperson at Fletchers Solicitors explains:

“Raising a complaint about substandard medical care 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.”

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), so it’s always worth speaking up. 

Survey participants were asked for the top reasons that would lead them to make a formal complaint. Shockingly, the most popular motivation was when the issue has cost them money – ahead of when the issue posed a risk to their health.

This was followed by:

  • If the issue damaged their possession/s
  • If the issue resulted in them not receiving the service that they deserve
  • If the issue has cost them time
  • If the issue has affected the way they look


Understandably, many Brits don’t feel confident making a complaint, especially when they don’t feel that their problem is important enough. Almost HALF of the 2,500 Brits quizzed 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”. 

Commenting on the findings, Fletchers Solicitors said:

“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.”

The next most common reasons causing Brits to be unconfident about raising a complaint were:

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

Addressing Brits’ concerns, Fletchers Solicitors said:

“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 Fletchers Solicitors can help. Visit their website or speak to them today for free legal advice on 0330 013 0251.

Author: Editorial Team

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