A 21 per cent rise in complaints about care services does not mean quality is in decline, according to Scotland's  care watchdog. 

The Care Inspectorate says complaints have risen from 4,089 in 2015-16 to 4,940 in 2018-19. 

More than half of all complaints were upheld, with the majority relating to care homes, care at home or day care of children.

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But the sharp rise in complaints should be balanced against the fact that 88 per cent of care services continue to be rated good, very good or excellent, according to chief execuitve Peter Macleod.

He said: "Everyone in Scotland has the right to good quality, compassionate care which meets their needs and respects their rights and choices.

He added: "We know from our inspections that the majority of care services perform well, and people who rely on them experience good quality care.  But where things are not as good as they should be, we work closely with care providers to support them to improve."

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Mr Macleod said he rise in complaints could be as a result of increased awareness and a better publicised compaints procedure, as well as an increase in the standards of care people expect for themselves or their loved ones.

"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," he said.

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More than half of the 1,397 comments investigated last year were upheld (58 per cent) and nearly half of the investigations carried out by the Care Inspectorate in the last four years related to care homes.

A fifth of complaints were about daycare for children, and housing support and care at home accounted for another one in five complaints.

A quarter of all complaints investigated last year were about "general health and welfare issues," while one in six related to staffing concerns, the inspectorate said.