GWENT hospital chiefs have said the reason behind a rise in the number of complaints is that they’ve made the system easier for patients.

Complaints by hospital patients about the way they’ve been treated have risen by up to 231 per cent in some areas of Wales over the last five years, according to figures obtained by Plaid Cymru.

The political party submitted a Freedom of Information request to all seven Welsh health boards.

The most complaints were dealt with by Cardiff and the Vale. It had more than 7,200 complaints since 2008.

The highest areas of complaints relates to clinical diagnosis and treatment.

Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for health, said: “I fully accept the number of complaints represent a small proportion of those treated within the NHS and the vast majority of staff do fantastic job. But they are hampered by too few staff and too much paperwork.”

An Aneurin Bevan spokesman said the health board has seen an increase in the number of complaints following the introduction of the system “Putting Things Right” in April 2011.

“This new process was intended to make the complaints process much more visible and accessible,” he said. “In addition to this, our general communication with patients has also improved with increased use of social media. We actively encourage feedback, as complaints provides us with the opportunity to learn and improve, the quality, safety and responsiveness of our services.”