A study was undertaken in an NHS trust general hospital to determine if older or younger patients submitted more complaints, and if differences existed in the topics of complaint, and the subsequent handling of the complaints. The patient administration system, the complaints register and a questionnaire were used to collect the data from the complaint files. The study found that older patients were twice as likely to complain to the unit as younger patients. The majority of complaints from both age groups specified poor attitudes and communication of staff, and inadequate care. The recommendations include the need to improve the documentation and filing of the complaints, to use the Patient's Charter (1) as a resource for planning the service and to examine why complaints specified doctors more than other staff.