A rise in complaints against medical professionals has been blamed on Social Media and bad press coverage after complaints rose from 5,168 complaints in 2007 to 10,347 in 2012, doubling in only 5 years. After these ever increasing figures continued to rise, Plymouth research team were sent to investigate the increase, although their results don’t really explain the reason why.
The Plymouth research team claim they have been able to identify trends which they believe results in public being more prone to complaints, however state that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest falling standards in the profession. They believe that patients are now better informed about their health therefore have greater expectations of doctors. This being said, does this really leave social media and bad press coverage to blame, or is it purely a case of individuals now being educated enough about their health to understand that their favourite doctors were clueless all along?
Despite these figures collected, social media is being blamed for encouraging people to discuss their negative experiences whereas press coverage is blamed for chipping away at medical profession’s reputation. Research has shown that patients are more willing to complain and now find it easier to do so although the complaints system is now being criticised for this and argued that complaints procedures should be changed.
Although the research teams are unable to identify dropping standards in the medical profession, it does open a door to many questions such as, has the medical profession really changed? Is social media really to blame for the rise? But most of all, is it just our increases in knowledge of health that result in a decrease in satisfaction of the medical services we receive? There is many things to think about however in truth, it is unlikely a genuine answer to the medical service’s questions will be answered and many other factors will be blamed before the real issue is even pinpointed.