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Cllr blames surge on pressure of NHS cuts

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Complaints from patients about GP surgeries in Brent have shot up by nearly 50 per cent, figures reveal.

Brent had the third largest increase out of all 33 London boroughs for complaints received about care within the last year.

The data, compiled by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, is a count of written complaints made by or on behalf of patients.

Complaints rose from 114 to 167.

Residents already fear controversial changes to NHS services across eight London boroughs.

Under the Shaping a Healthier Future plans, the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department will close at Central Middlesex Hospital (CMH), in Harlesden. The hospital will focus on specialist care only.

Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala (Labour), ward councillor for Stonebridge, said a 46 per cent increase was a ‘worrying sign’.

He said: “The NHS is heading in the wrong direction.

“It’s not surprising that more and more patients are writing formal complaints.

“The pressure on the NHS is growing with cuts to staff and resources.

“The Government must get an urgent grip on the NHS - patients and staff deserve much better.”

A spokesman for NHS North West London said that every complaint is taken seriously and is “thoroughly investigated”.

However, he added that despite the figures, Brent was one of the best in London for overall complaints.

He said: “Brent is one of the most populous boroughs in the capital and receives fewer complaints than most boroughs.

“Because the number of complaints we receive is actually quite low, an increase of 53 registers as a very high percentage.

On the proposed closure of CMH he added: “These are complaints about General Practice and so have little relevance to the proposed closure of Central Middlesex Hospital’s A&E department.

“However, it is worth saying that our ambitious plans for “out of hospital” care linked to the Shaping a Healthier Future programme include a significant investment in primary care.”

“Furthermore, in 2012/13, we are investing over an additional £1m in GP practices to improve patient experience.”

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