Complaints against nurses and midwives have risen by a record 57% from last year, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has revealed.
The NMC received 833 new complaints in January and February, up on the 530 for the same period in 2010. The body said the number of new referrals from health service employers and members of the public was "significant".
Referrals about complaints are made to the NMC from a number of sources, including employers, the public, the police and health staff.
The organisation feels that more needs to be done to determine why this significant rise has occurred.
NMC chief executive and registrar Dickon Weir-Hughes said: "It is encouraging that employers and members of the public are more confident about referring their complaints to us.
"We have worked hard to make our complaints-handling processes more efficient and effective and we have set demanding customer-focused targets for delivering our fitness to practise services.
"However, the fact that other healthcare regulators have also experienced similar dramatic increases in the volume of their complaints is a serious cause for concern and indicates the need for more detailed research into the underlying reasons for these trends."
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"As much as anything because of the unrealistic expectations of complainants, fuelled by the last government. However, this is not to sweep everything under the carpet and pretend that it's all hunky dory BUT our culture is changing rapidly from the Dunkirk spirit to 'its someone else's responsibility'" – Carol Wotherspoon, High Wycombe
"Thankfully the surveys we do inhouse show that the attitude to our nurses is characterised by poitive comments, but my own daughter is making a complaint supported by me in regard to the care she received by midwives during her recent delivery. Having nearly died, as in it took 30mins to resus her, the nursing and midwifery staff were just plain rude and obnoxious she came home the next day they said she was not allowed to go home and threatened to section her on the grounds that she was not capable of making the right decision for herself and child. Her father is a dr, she is a lawyer I am a lawyer she came home and her complaint is now being dealt with by a senior investigating officer. Mother and baby well now but little thanks to the 'care' received. In the same week we had a remarkably similar case in this practice and another patient who refuses to be referred to that hospital for delivery because the staff were, quote, 'incompetent b****es' Is it just too few staff trying to do too much or bogged down in paperwork? Either way there seems to be an increasing number of very worrying events taking place. People need to wake up to the blame and compensation culture, terrifying" – Name and address withheld