Complaints about doctors have reached a record high, with a 23 per cent increase in the number of grievances in the last year alone.
According to the General Medical Council (GMC), 8,781 complaints were made last year, compared to 7,153 in 2010.
One in every 64 doctors is likely to be investigated by the regulator, with the highest number of accusations being made about about men and older doctors.
Psychiatrists, GPs and surgeons also attracted the highest level of complaints compared with other specialities.
Despite the findings, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, stressed that the rise in complaints does not mean necessarily that medical standards are falling.
"We have been trying to understand why this number is going up, and we have a whole series of reasons why it may be.
"Firstly, there is better monitoring of medical practice. Secondly, doctors certainly are more willing to speak out and less willing to tolerate behaviour than they were a generation ago.
"Patient expectations are changing and they are more willing to complain. Allied to this is the digital age in which more information is available for patients."