This process identifies Abridge Surgery’s approach to the handling of complaints and is relevant to all employers and anyone who works at Abridge Surgery, including non-clinical staff.
Individuals training and visitors/observers on the premises must also adhere to this.
Importance of having a complaints procedure
Staff at Abridge Surgery recognise that, occasionally, things go wrong and patients can be left feeling unhappy with aspects of their care or treatment.
To reduce the anxiety and apprehension for both patients and staff we have a process for handling complaints.
How to make a complaint
- If you are unhappy about the service or staff please tell us.
- Complaints may be received in writing or orally.
- If you have a complaint or concern about the service that you have received from the doctors, nurses or any of the staff working at the Practice, please let us know.
- Our complaints policy is in line with the NHS system for dealing with complaints and meets national criteria.
- We aim to resolve complaints easily and quickly and in many cases we try to be proactive and solve any matters as they arise.
Time limit for making a complaint
Within 12 months of the event, or within 12 months of becoming aware that you have something to complain about.
People responsible for handling complaints
Complaints can be made in the first instance, either orally or in writing outlining your concerns to the Practice Manager Abridge Surgery, Michael Hall.
The Complaints Manager is responsible for the handling and investigation of complaints.
Initial handling of complaints
- The Complaints Manager acknowledges a written complaint in writing within 3 working days.
Investigation of complaint
- The Complaints Manager will discuss the complaint with the staff about which the complaint is relating, to establish their recollection of events.
- The complainant is to be invited to a meeting to discuss the complaint with the Complaints Manager / member of staff mentioned in the complaint / Practice Manager and asked if they would like to be accompanied at this meeting.
- Where the complaint is against a Doctor or nurse or is around clinical care, the Practice Manager and a Clinician not involved in your complaint will investigate the concerns you have raised.
- During these meetings you have the right to have another person, an advocate present. This person can be anyone of your choosing with the exception of a solicitor engaged for a fee.
- Minutes should be taken and a summary of the meeting should be sent in writing to the complainant asap.
- During our investigations we will:-
- Find out exactly what happened and what went wrong
- Ensure that the problem has been discussed with all the appropriate members of staff and provide feedback
- Offer an apology if we are found to be at fault
- Take steps to ensure that the problem does not happen again
- Put in place any actions that are highlighted as a result of your complaint
We will also ensure the following :-
- that the conclusions reached in relation to the complaint and any remedial action that will be needed
- confirmation as to whether the practice is satisfied that any action has been taken or will be taken.
- If it is not possible to send the complainant a response in the agreed period it is necessary to write to the complainant explaining why. Then a response is to be sent to the complainant as soon as is reasonably practicable.
- If the complainant is dissatisfied with the handling of the complaint then they are to be advised to contact the Health Service Ombudsman and how to do so.
Recording complaints and investigations
- A record must be kept of
- each complaint received
- the subject matter of the complaint
- the steps and decisions taken during an investigation
- the outcome of each investigation
- when the practice informed the complainant of the response period and any amendment to that period
- whether a report of the outcome of the investigation was sent to the complainant within the response period or any amended period.
If a complainant is unhappy with the outcome
We believe that raising your concerns with us will give us the best chance to improve our service.
You will receive a final response letter that will include details of the result of the investigation into your complaint and your right to take matters further if you remain dissatisfied with the response.
Whilst we hope that we can give a satisfactory explanation or solution, we appreciate that this may not always be the case.
You have the right to request an independent review of your complaint by contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,
Telephone advice line: 0345 015 4033
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
You have the right to approach NHS England if you feel you cannot raise your complaint directly with us. In the first instance you should contact them for further advice on how to go about this. They can be contacted at:
PO Box 16738
Telephone: 0300 311 2233
If using email ensure that you state: ‘For the attention of the complaints manager’ in the subject line.
Review of complaints
- Complaints received by the practice are to be reviewed at staff meetings to ensure that learning points are shared.
- A review of all complaints will be conducted annually by the Complaints Manager to identify any patterns that are to be discussed with the Practice Manager.
- The Complaints Manager will notify the Practice Manager of any concerns about a complaint leading to non-compliance.
NHS England ask for complaints returns 6 monthly. This is sent to them directly online.
This asks for the surgery to:-
a) specify the number of complaints received
b) specify the number of complaints which it was decided were well-founded
c) specify the number of complaints which the practice has been informed have been referred to the Health Service Ombudsman
d) summarise the subject matter of complaints received
e) summarise any matters of general importance arising out of those complaints, or the way in which the complaints were handled
f) summarise any matters where action has been or is to be taken to improve services as a consequence of those complaints.
CQC ‘How to complain about a health service or social care service’
‘How we deal with complaints’ information from the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman
‘NHS England Complaints Procedures’ September 2014