This procedure sets out the Practice’s approach to the handling of complaints and is intended as a guide for all staff including clinicians.
The practice will take reasonable steps to ensure that patients are aware of:
- The complaints procedure
- The role of the CCG and other bodies in the relation to complaints about the
service we are contracted to provide; and
- Their right to assistance with any complaint from independent advocacy
- Ensure that the complaints procedure is accessible to all patients
The practice may receive a complaint made by, or (with his/her consent) on behalf of a patient or former patient, who is receiving or has received treatment at the practice.
Where the complaint relates to a child this may be registered on their behalf by:
- Either parent or in the absence of both parents, the guardian or other adult
who has care of the child
- 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
Where the patient is incapable of making a complaint, by a relative or other adult
who has an interest in his/her welfare.
Periods for Making a Complaint
The period for making a complaint is:
- Six months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint occurred; or
- Six months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint comes to the complainant’s notice (provided that the complaint is made no later than 12 months after the date of the event).
- Where a complaint is made outside these time limits the practice will in line with GMC guidance, investigate in a prompt and fair manner, offering a response to the claim.
Complaints received by the practice will be dealt with by the Practice Business Manager or by the Deputy Practice Manager. They will be responsible for the effective management of the complaints procedure and for ensuring that action is taken in the light of the outcome of any investigation.
Complaints relating to clinical areas will be dealt with by a partner and the doctor whom the complaint is against.
Action upon Receipt of a Complaint
Complaints may be received either verbally or in writing and must be forwarded to the Practice Business Manager or Deputy Practice Manager who will then:
- Acknowledge in writing within the period of three working days beginning with the day on which the complaint was made or, where that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable
- A complaints procedure action sheet will be completed with details of the complaint
- Ensure the complaint is properly investigated and details recorded with statements if appropriate
- Within the period of 10 working days, beginning with the day on which the complaint was received, the Practice Business Manager or Deputy Practice Manager will provide a written statement of the investigation and its conclusions. Where this time limit is not possible as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Complainants will be advised what they should do if they are not happy with the practice response. This involves an independent conciliation and review process.
- The complainant has the right to meet with the person they are complaining about in order to help with the resolution of the concerns
- The complainant should be offered a conciliator to facilitate discussions
- The complainant should be given the details of the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service whose role is to support complainants
- The complainant must be informed that they have the right to raise their concerns with NHS England, should they believe the issues have not been addressed adequately:
The contact details of NHS England are:
PO Box 16738
- The complainant must be informed that if still dissatisfied, they have a right to ask for an independent review through the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if they are unhappy with matters following completion of the local resolution procedure.
The contact details of the Ombudsman are:
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Tel: 0345 015 4033 Fax: 0300 061 4000
These can be found at https://www.ombudsman.org.uk
Review and Audit of Complaints
Complaints received by the practice will be reviewed to ensure that learning points are shared with the whole practice team.
- Complaints received will be reviewed at the monthly staff/clinical meetings(dependent on type of complaint), to ensure any actions required are put into practice
- A full review of complaints will be carried out annually to identify any trends of additional actions or learning points.
All complaints will be treated in the strictest of confidence. Where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of the patient’s medical records by a person other than a practice team member, the patient will be advised and their consent sought.
The practice will keep a record of all complaints and copies of correspondence relating to complaints, but such records will be kept separate from the patients’ medical record.