Objective: To analyse the complaints made by users of the National Health System in the University Hospital of Getafe (Madrid, Spain), to characterise trends in complaint rates over time and to appraise the quality control in the management of complaints. Material and methods: All complaints made between January 2000 and December 2005 were recorded and the incidence rate and annual percent change were calculated. The relationships between complaints and time were analysed. Finally, the percentage of complaints correctly dealt with in less than 30 days was calculated. Results: The number of complaints increased from 132.93 to 482.28 per 100,000 inhabitants. The annual percent increase was +15.21. There was a relationship between several types of complaints and time (disagreement with health care, the organisation, with loss of documents, with clinical information, with delays in surgical and non-surgical treatment and cancellations. In 2004, only 24.8% of complaints were answered in time, but increased to 44% in 2005. Conclusions: There was an increase in the incidence of the complaints in the University Hospital of Getafe (Madrid) during the period studied. The users give greater importance to the technical and human aspects of health care compared to organisational and planning aspects. The quality control in the management of the complaints is poor. © 2009 Sociedad Española de Calidad Asistencial.
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