Complaints against doctors in an accident and emergency department: a 10-year analysis

Arch Emerg Med. 1992 Jun;9(2):134-42. doi: 10.1136/emj.9.2.134.


We carried out an analysis of complaints against doctors in our Accident and Emergency Department received from 1 January 1979 to 31 December 1988. There were 66 complainants in all, comprising 37 relatives, 21 patients and eight persons acting in a professional capacity. The majority of complaints (80 out of 125) were about poor communication and dissatisfaction with diagnosis and treatment. A small number of complainants had unrealistic expectations of the Accident and Emergency service. A total of 83.3% of complaints were against Senior House Officers who saw 61.3% of all patients. We concluded that an improvement in the communicative, diagnostic and therapeutic skills of doctors would minimize justified complaints.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malpractice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians*
  • Time Factors