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Complaints

Most of the care and treatment in our practice goes well but sometimes things can go wrong. If you are unhappy with your care or the services you have received, it is important to let us know so that we can improve. We are always sorry when we fall below our expected standards and/or if a person is unhappy with our service. Our intention is to give good care to all our patients within the resources available to us and we are disappointed if that does not happen. Whether a complaint is informal or formal we always look to learn from all complaints.

The complaint process described below is focused on our practice. If you want to make a complaint in another area of the NHS or with social care this is explained in the frequently asked questions section below.

Contacting us to make a formal complaint

We hope that problems can be sorted out easily and quickly. If your problem cannot be sorted out this way and you wish to make a complaint you should let us know as soon as possible. Making a complaint will not affect your treatment or care, and your complaint will not be noted on your medical record. All complaints are treated in the strictest confidence, and we aim to deal with complaints as quickly as possible. There is more support making a complaint under the frequently asked questions below.

Contacting us

You can use our complaints form to make a formal complaint.
Complete and submit our online form:

OR

You can contact us directly. Please see contact details under Contact Us. Please when making a written complaint can you add a heading “For the attention of the complaints team” to help us identify the complaint easily, so we act quickly.


The complaints process in the practice

The patient association has set out the complaints process in a straightforward way by dividing the complaints process into stages.
“Making a complaint” Patient Association website. Retrieved 14 February 2023.

Stage 1 – Making an informal complaint or raising a concern

Stage 2 – Making a formal complaint

Stage 3 – Contacting the ombudsman

Importantly you can skip stage 1 and go straight to stage 2 making a formal complaint if you wish. The ombudsman asks that you go through stage 2 before contacting them in stage 3.

All of the three steps are explained in detail below. The frequently asked questions below include support in making a complaint (both further information and helplines).

An informal complaint or raising a concern

Feedback
Feedback helps us improve the quality of care. You can give informal bad feedback (and good feedback) through “the Friends and Family test” found under friends and family test. The FFT is an anonymous and quick way for you to provide feedback about the service provided to you.

You can also give us informal feedback on how we can improve using our comments and suggestions form which can be found under comments and suggestions. This feedback is not anonymous so we can reply to this.

Discussing the complaint
You can also speak to the person involved but, in some cases, you may feel more comfortable speaking to someone not directly involved in your care. A manager may be able to deal with the problem straight away.

If the issue is dealt with you may wish to take no further action. Many problems can be dealt with at this stage. Where the issue cannot be resolved at this stage, we cover making a formal complaint below.

Making a formal complaint

The practice management team hope that if you have a problem and wish to make a formal complaint, you will use the practice complaints procedure. However, if you feel you cannot raise your complaint with us, you can complain to the commissioner of our services, which is the body that pays for our NHS services.

This choice is explained further including a link to the local Integrated Care Board who provide the contact details for making a complaint. See under

Our practice complaints procedure

How to complain
If you have decided to make a formal complaint through our practice, please let us know as soon as possible, ideally within a matter of days. This will enable the practice to get a clear picture of the circumstances surrounding the complaint. Details on how to contact us are included in the section above “contacting us to make a formal complaint”.

If it is not possible to raise your complaint immediately, please let us have details of your complaint within the following timescales:

  • Within 12 months of the incident that caused the problem

OR

  • Within 12 months from when the complaint comes to your notice

This time limit set by the NHS can sometimes be extended as long as it is still possible to investigate your complaint.

Complaining on behalf of someone else
Anyone can complain, including young people. A family member, carer, friend, or your local MP, can complain on your behalf with your permission.

If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, the practice needs to know that you have their permission to do so. A note signed by the person concerned is required, unless they are incapable of providing this due to illness or disability.

The practice response to a complaint
The practice will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days.

The Practice will arrange a meeting with you to discuss the complaint, to agree with you how the complaint is going to be investigated and the timescale for this to be completed.

We aim to deal with your complaint as promptly as possible, usually within 25 working days depending on the nature of the complaint. We will keep you fully informed of our investigation if our response is delayed.

When the practice looks into your complaint it aims to:

  • Fully understand the complete circumstances of the complaint
  • Act with openness and transparency and ensuring confidentiality
  • Make arrangements for you to discuss the problem with those concerned, if you would like this
  • Make sure you receive an apology, where this is appropriate
  • Identify what the practice can do to make sure the problem does not happen again

Throughout the complaints process and afterwards you will

  • be treated fairly, politely and with respect
  • be reassured that your care and treatment will not be affected as a result of making a complaint

Support with making a complaint
In the frequently asked questions below, we include which may be of help:

  • Tips on making a complaint
  • Independent support to help you make a complaint (information and helplines)
  • Help with advocacy

We will always learn from any complaint
All complaints are used to learn and drive continuous improvement. Any trends are used to highlight where changes or improvements may be needed.

Complaining further to the ombudsman

If after the whole practice complaints process you remain unhappy with the response from our practice you can consider taking your complaint further to the ombudsman. This is explained in more detail including links to the Ombudsman under


Frequently asked questions

Under Making a Complaint there is significant support with complaints including:

  • Local and national support for making a complaint
  • Tips on making a complaint
  • How to complain about any health or social care service
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