Complaints about social care in Scotland have risen 20% in four years, according to the Care Inspectorate.
A new report has revealed that the volume of complaints received by the industry regulator has increased from 4,089 received in 2015/16 to 4,940 in 2018/19.
Almost a quarter of the complaints were about housing with care (14.1%) or standalone care at home services (7%) , while just under half (47.5%) were about care homes.
However, the Care Inspectorate stressed that although levels of complaints received have risen over this period, it is not an indicator that quality of care is in decline.
Comparing 2015/16 to 2018/19, the percentage of care services graded good, very good or excellent in all quality themes has remained high at 88%.
Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said: “We know from our inspections that the majority of care services perform well, and people who rely on them experience good quality care.
“The rise in complaints brought to us over the past four years may be attributable to the increased awareness of our complaints process and of the standards of care people should expect.”
Most complaints received (46%) were made by friends, relatives or carers of a person who experiences the care service.
A further 22% were made by employees or former employees of the service. Only 8% of complaints were made directly by someone using the service.
Of the complaints completed in 2018/19, just under a quarter of all areas of complaint were about general health and welfare issues in a service, 18% were about specific healthcare concerns, and a further 16% related to staffing concerns.
The Care Inspectorate said its focus in all areas of its work, including complaints, is on improving quality of care and outcomes for people who experience care.
“Where things are not as good as they should be, we work closely with care providers to support them to improve,” said Macleod.
“We want people to raise any concerns they have about care with us. Often, we can help resolve minor issues quickly and easily, but where there are more serious concerns it’s important that people feel able to contact us, anonymously if necessary, so we can help.”