Complaints matter

Published: 5 December 2014 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

Complaints matter in health and social care. For too long they have not been taken seriously enough. And too often complaints are met with a defensive culture instead of a willingness to listen and learn.

This report:

  • Describes how complaints and concerns fit into our new regulatory model.
  • Presents early findings on the state of complaints handling.

Complaints and concerns matter to CQC

We're not responsible for resolving individual complaints, but we do want to hear from people who experience or know about poor care because we use this information when we inspect services.

Complaints and concerns in our new approach to regulation

Embedding complaints and concerns into our model aims to:

  • Improve how we use the intelligence to better understand the quality of care.
  • Consider how well providers handle complaints and concerns to encourage improvement.

Concerns raised by staff (whistleblowing)

A service that is well-led and wants to improve will encourage staff to raise concerns without fear of reprisal. We want the staff of care providers to tell us if they know about poor care and for complaints and concerns to be used to improve care quality.

Review of complaints handling

This report gives an initial analysis of complaints handling in health and social care services. It reveals a wide variation in the way complaints are handled and that much more could be done to encourage an open culture where concerns are welcomed and learned from.


Our new and more thorough methods of reviewing complaints handling will allow inspectors to get a more comprehensive picture of the state of complaints. We will continue to review inspection findings and refine our methods if necessary.

We will continue to work closely with partners to develop a listening culture that encourages and embraces complaints and concerns as opportunities to improve the quality of care.

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