Complaints Policy and Procedure

We try to offer Patients the best possible service, however, if you are unhappy about anything, please let us know as soon as possible. We have a Practice Complaints Procedure as part of the NHS system for dealing with complaints.

We hope that most problems can be sorted easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and with the person concerned. If your problem cannot be sorted out in this way and you wish to make a complaint, we would like you to let us know as soon as possible – ideally, within a matter of days or at most a few weeks – because this will enable us to establish what happened more easily. If it is not possible to do that, please let us have details of your complaint:-

Within 12 months of the incident or of becoming aware of the matter complained about.

Complaints Procedure

The Person responsible for this policy is: Helen Hatcher
Date Reviewed: 28th July 2021
Next Review: July 2022

This procedure sets out the Practice’s approach to the handling of complaints and is intended as an internal guide, which should be made readily available to all staff.

The Practice will take reasonable steps to ensure that patients are aware of:

  • the complaints procedure
  • The role of NHS England and other bodies in relation to complaints about services under the contract. This includes the ability of the patient to complain directly to NHS England as an alternative to a complaint to the practice, and to escalate to the Ombudsman where dissatisfied with the outcome.
  • Their right to assistance with any complaint from independent advocacy services.
    The principal method of achieving this is the Complaints Patient Information Leaflet.
    The Complaints Manager for the Practice is Mrs Helen Hatcher, Practice Manager.
    The lead GP Partner for complaints handling is Dr Raj Sinha, Senior Partner.

Receiving of complaints
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, or:

(a) where the patient is a child:

  • 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;
  • by a person duly authorised by a voluntary organisation by which the child is being accommodated

(b) where the patient is incapable of making a complaint, by a relative or other adult who has an interest in his/her welfare.

All complaints, written and verbal will be recorded, and written complaints will be
acknowledged in writing within 3 working days of receipt.

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;
(b) 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint comes to the complainant’s notice.

Complaints should normally be resolved within 6 months. The practice aims to respond within 30 days.

The Complaints Manager or lead GP has the discretion to extend the time limits if the ncomplainant has good reason for not making the complaint sooner, or where it is still possible to properly investigate the complaint despite extended delay.

When considering an extension to the time limit it is important that the Complaints Manager or the GP takes into consideration that the passage of time may prevent an accurate recollection
of events by the clinician concerned or by the person bringing the complaint. The collection 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 reason for declining a time limit extension.

Complaints may be received either verbally or in writing and must be forwarded to the Complaints Manager (or the lead GP if the Complaints Manager is unavailable), who will:

  • Acknowledge in writing within the period of 3 working days beginning with the day on which the complaint was made or, where that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable. We will give you the opportunity to discuss your complaint with us at a mutually convenient time, either by telephone or in person. At this time we will agree how to handle the complaint and a timeframe which is acceptable to both parties and the next steps.
  • Where the complaint is made verbally a written record will be taken, and a copy provided if requested.
  • Ensure the complaint is properly investigated. Where the complaint involves more than one organisation the Complaints Manager will liaise with his / her counterpart to agree responsibilities and ensure that responses are sent;
  • Where the complaint has been sent to the incorrect organisation, advise the patient within 3 working days and ask them if they want it to be forwarded on. If it is sent on, advise the patient of the full contact details;
  • Provide a written response to the patient as soon as reasonably practicable ensuring that the patient is kept up to date with progress as appropriate.
  • If you are not satisfied with our explanation, it may be necessary to set up a meeting between the parties concerned to see if the matter can be resolved through discussion. Formal complaints will be finalised with a detailed letter, even if they are managed by face to face meetings.
  • Complainants who are not satisfied with the response made to their complaint at local level, can refer it for investigation to NHS England or by the Health Service Ombudsman. The complaint must be referred to NHS England or the Ombudsman within twelve months of the final correspondence at completion of local resolution. The Ombudsman has discretion as to whether or not to investigate a complaint and considers each case on its merits.

NHS England welcomes concerns, compliments and complaints as valuable feedback that will help us learn from your experiences and make improvements to services we commission.

You can complain or give feedback:

  • By post to:
    NHS England
    PO Box 16738
    B97 9PT
  • By email to: [email protected]
    If you are making a complaint please state: ‘For the attention of the complaints team’ in the subject line.
  • By telephone: 0300 311 22 33

Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman (PHSO). The Ombudsman can be contacted in the following ways:

Postal address:

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower

Telephone: 0345 015 4033
E-mail is [email protected]

Time limits apply and the Ombudsman would usually expect a complaint to be brought within 12 months of the date of the events complained about but has discretion to waive the time limits in exceptional cases.

Where a complainant becomes aggressive or, despite effective complaint handling,
unreasonable in their promotion of the complaint, some or all of the following formal provisions will apply and will be communicated to the patient:

  • The complaint will be managed by one named individual at senior level who will be the only contact for the patient
  • Contact will be limited to one method only (e.g. in writing)
  • Place a time limit on each contact
  • The number of contacts in a time period will be restricted
  • A witness will be present for all contacts
  • Repeated complaints about the same issue will be refused
  • Only acknowledge correspondence regarding a closed matter, not respond to it
  • Set behaviour standards
  • Return irrelevant documentation
  • Keep detailed records

The practice will establish an annual complaints report, incorporating a review of complaints received, along with any learning issues or changes to procedures which have arisen. This report is to be made available to any person who requests it, and may form part of the Freedom of Information Act Publication Scheme.

This will include:

  • The number of complaints received
  • Justified / unjustified analysis
  • Known referrals to the Ombudsman
  • Subject matter / categorisation / clinical care
  • Learning points
  • Methods of complaints management
  • Any changes to procedure, policies or care which have resulted

All complaints must be treated in the strictest confidence.

Where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of the patient’s medical records, the Complaints Manager must inform the patient or person acting on his/her behalf if the investigation will involve disclosure of information contained in those records to a person other than the Practice or an employee of the Practice.

The practice must keep a record of all complaints and copies of all correspondence relating to complaints, but such records must be kept separate from patients’ medical records.