Making a complaint
The purpose of the policy is to ensure that all patients (or their representatives) who have the cause to complain about their care or treatment can have freely available access to the process and can expect a truthful, full and complete response and an apology where appropriate. Complainants have the right not to be discriminated against as the result of making a complaint and to have the outcome fully explained to them. The process adopted in the practice is fully compliant with the relevant NHS Regulations (2009) and guidance available from defence organisations, doctors` representative bodies and the Care Quality Commission. Everyone in the practice is expected to be aware of the process and to remember that everything they do and say may present a poor impression of the practice and may prompt a complaint or even legal action.
The general principle of the practice in respect of all complaints will be to regard it first and foremost as a learning process, however in appropriate cases and after full and proper investigation the issue may form the basis of a separate disciplinary action. In the case of any complaint with implications for professional negligence or legal action, the appropriate defence organisation must be informed immediately.
How can I make a complaint?
You can make a complaint both verbally and in writing. The practice can accept written complaint letters addressed to the Practice Manager (Mr J Flint), complaints can also be entered by completing the ‘Suggestions, Compliments and Complaints’ slip available at the reception front desk.
Verbal complaints can be made to the reception staff, who will advise you to either fill out the ‘Suggestions, Compliments and Complaints’ slip to enter a written complaint, or will book you an appointment to discuss your complaint with the Practice Manager in one of his Friday clinics.
Who can a formal complaint be made to?
ONLY TO - either the practice -OR - NHS England
In the event of anyone not wishing to complain to the practice they should be directed to make their complaint to NHSE at:
By telephone: 03003 11 22 33
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By post: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT
In those cases where the complaint is made to NHS England, the practice will comply with all appropriate requests for information and co-operate fully in assisting them to investigate and respond to the complaint.
Who can make a complaint?
A complaint can be made by or, with consent, on behalf of a patient (i.e. as a representative); a former patient, who is receiving or has received treatment at the Practice; or someone who may be affected by any decision, act or omission of the practice.
A Representative may also be
- by either parent or, in the absence of both parents, the guardian or other adult who has care of the child; by a person duly authorised by a local authority to whose care the child has been committed under the provisions of the Children Act 1989; or by a person duly authorised by a voluntary organisation by which the child is being accommodated
- someone acting on behalf of a patient/ former patient who lacks capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (i.e. who has Power of Attorney etc.) or physical capacity to make a complaint and they are acting in the interests of their welfare
- someone acting for the relatives of a deceased patient/former patient
In all cases where a representative makes a complaint in the absence of patient consent, the practice will consider whether they are acting in the best interests of the patient and, in the case of a child, whether there are reasonable grounds for the child not making the complaint on their own behalf. In the event a complaint from a representative is not accepted, the grounds upon which this decision was based must be advised to them in writing.
Who is responsible at the practice for dealing with complaints?
The practice "Complaints Manager" is Mr J Flint (Practice Manager) and they have been delegated responsibility for managing complaints and ensuring adequate investigations are carried out.
Time limits for making complaints
The period for making a complaint is normally:
(a) 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint occurred; or
(b) 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint comes to the complainant's notice.
The practice has discretion to extend these limits if there is good reason to do so and it is still possible to carry out a proper investigation. The collection or recollection of evidence, clinical guidelines or other resources relating to the time when the complaint event arose may also be difficult to establish or obtain. These factors may be considered as suitable reasons for declining a time limit extension, however that decision should be able to stand up to scrutiny.
The practice will ensure that the complaint is investigated in a manner that is appropriate to resolve it speedily and effectively and proportionate to the degree of seriousness that is involved.
All complaints must be treated in the strictest confidence and the practice ensures that the patient etc. is made aware of any confidential information to be disclosed to a third party (e.g. NHS England).
NHS Complaints Advocacy Service
POhWER provide a free, independent and confidential advocacy service to support people with their NHS complaint.
Telephone: 0300 456 2370