In today's society, citizens are increasingly aware and demanding of the goods they purchase and the services they enjoy, including healthcare services. Their perception of quality influences not only the choice of institution, but also their recommendation to other people (Mosadeghrad, 2013). The decrease in error's tolerance and the widespread access to the internet made it easier for healthcare services users to expose their discontent through complaints. Furthermore, it has increased the impact caused by patients' complaints. Annually, health institutions receive a massive amount of complaints that contain valuable information regarding service failures. However, the information contained therein is still underutilized (Reader et al., 2014). The Healthcare Regulatory Authority (ERS) is responsible for monitoring and analyzing complaints received through official channels. However, all complaints made through channels that are beyond the control of the Government are left out of this analysis. Among these, the "Portal da Queixa" is one of the most relevant. Thus, the objective of this dissertation is to understand what the main reasons for complaints in Portugal are and their implications for the National Health Service (NHS). In this sense, an empirical study was developed based on 1012 public complaints addressed to the NHS, at "Portal da Queixa", during the Covid-19 pandemic. Complaints were classified according to the taxonomy developed by Reader et al. (2014). The results show that the majority of complaints are made by the patient himself, usually female. Most of the observations were registered on the continental coast, with special emphasis on the districts of Lisbon and Porto. Most complaints are directed to primary healthcare centers (GPs), with issues related to “institutional processes”, that are of low damage and severity and typically caused by administrative members. Despite the epidemiological context, it was found that most problems were not directly caused by Covid-19. Additionally, it was found that the type of complaints received by the ERS differs from those observed in the studied sample. Based on that, we can consider that monitoring and analysing different sources of complaints, namely social networks and other digital platforms, make it possible to identify different types of problems that contribute to promoting changes in healthcare services in order to improve quality.
|Date of Award||7 Jul 2021|
- Universidade Católica Portuguesa
|Supervisor||Carla Martins (Supervisor)|
- National Health Service