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. A leaflet for patient use is attached.
1. General provisions
The Practice will take reasonable steps to ensure that patients are aware of:
(a) the complaints procedure;
(b) the role of the CCG and other bodies in relation to complaints about services
under the contract; and
(c) their right to assistance with any complaint from independent advocacy services
The Practice will take reasonable steps to ensure that the complaints procedure is accessible to all patients
2. 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, either in writing or via email at email@example.com:
(a) where the patient is a child:
(i) by either parent, or in the absence of both parents, the guardian or other adult who has
care of the child,
(ii) 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
(iii) by a person duly authorised by a voluntary organisation by which the child is being
(b) where the patient is incapable of making a complaint, by a relative or other adult who has
an interest in his/her welfare
3. Period within which complaints can be made
The period for making a complaint is:
It should normally be made within 12 months of an incident or the matter coming to your attention The time limit can be extended provided you have good reasons for not making the complaint sooner and its possible to complete a fair investigation
GPs and / or Complaints managers have the discretion to extend the time limits if the complainant has suffered particular distress that prevented them from acting sooner. When considering an extension to the time limit it is important that the GP or manager 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.
4. Complaints handling
The practice will nominate:
(a) a person (the Complaints Officer- Jill Reeves) to be responsible for the operation of the complaints procedure and the investigation of complaints; and
(b) The Practice Manager to 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
5. Action upon receipt of a complaint
Complaints may be received either verbally or in writing and must be forwarded to the Complaints Officer (or Practice Manager if the Complaints Officer is unavailable), who must:
- 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.
- ensure the complaint is properly investigated and cascaded to all relevant parties involved.- provide a written response to the patient within the period of 10 working days beginning with the day on which the complaint was received by the Complaints Officer where or as soon as reasonably practicable, the complainant must be given a written statement of the investigation and its conclusions
6. Review of complaints
Complaints received by the practice will be reviewed to ensure that learning points are shared with the whole practice team:
- complaints received during the month will be reviewed monthly at meetings of practice staff to ensure any actions required are put into practice.
- A full review of all complaints will be carried out annually to identify any trends or additional actions/learning points which are forwarded to NHS England on an annual basis.
If the Patient is not satisfied with our response you have the right to take your complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is independent of government and the NHS. Their service is free and confidential. There are time limits for taking a complaint to the Ombudsman although they can waive them if they thinks there is a good reason to do so.
If you have any questions about whether the Ombudsman will be able to help you, or about how you make a complaint, you can contact their helpline on 0345 015 4033, email firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 0300 0614000 or via the post to Citygate, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HQ. Further information about the Ombudsman is available at www.ombudsman.org.uk
If the patient does not want to complain directly to their GP practice they no longer have to go through NHSE. NHS Frimley ICB are responsible for investigating complaints for the services mentioned above in Surrey Heartlands. They can be contacted via:
Telephone: 0300 561 0290
South East Complaints Hub
NHS Frimley ICB
Aldershot Centre for Health