Gloucester Road Medical Centre is committed to ensuring that there is a clear and effective process in place that enables patients to complain when dissatisfied with care, treatment and services. It is a requirement that all healthcare organisations have a written procedure for handling complaints and that all personnel are suitably trained and understand these procedures and can deal with any complaints received in the correct manner.
We aim to enable patients to express comments, suggestions and complaints to the practice when they feel dissatisfied with the service provided. We will provide patients with an explanation of what has happened; where appropriate, an apology; and provide an assurance that steps will be taken to prevent the problem recurring, where this is possible. Information on how to access the complaints process will be made available to the complainant at the earliest opportunity.
All practice personnel, when dealing with a complaint, will be advised to reassure our patients that the complaint will be dealt with professionally and sympathetically, give assurance that the procedure has been set up for our patients’ benefit and that we regard responding to complaints as part of good management.
Patients must always feel reassured that we will not discriminate in any way and that making a complaint will not cause them to be discriminated against or have any negative effect on their care, treatment or support. The complaints process must be as accessible as possible to all and special consideration will be given to the patient and/or family members or carers who may need additional support and advice in using the complaints procedure. Where care and treatment is provided to children, we are aware of the difficulties a child faces in expressing concerns or complaints and we will take extra care to offer support to help a child or young adult overcome these and to deal with the problem confidentially and sensitively. If the complainant requires the services of an Interpreter, these will be secured at the time of the complaint is made and at any other time as necessary.
We will offer to take the patient into a private area to discuss the matter privately if they so wish and to listen carefully to establish the facts and make notes if the patient require the practice to make a record of the complaint on their behalf.
How to make a complaint
We will advise the patient that there is a complaints procedure in place and offer a Patient Complaints Leaflet and a Patient Complaint Form. Patients maey alternatively wish to discuss their concerns with the Business Partner (if available) or to make an appointment to do so. The patient may complete the patient problem report form or put their concerns separately in writing or by email to email@example.com
If the complaint is provided verbally, this can be written down on the patient’s behalf and where possible, the patient will be shown the written account for their approval.
The regulations require a complaint to be made within 12 months of the date on which the matter occurred, or from when the matter came to the attention of the complainant. It may still be possible for the practice to consider a complaint outside this time limit if the complainant has good reason for not making the complaint within the time limit and, despite the delay it is still possible to investigate the complaint fairly and effectively.
The Complaints manager is Judy Holbrook, Business Partner.
The ‘Registered Manager’ with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is Dr Anne Mitchell.
The Business Partner will, in the first instance, determine the most appropriate way to respond and ensure that:
- Fully investigate the concerns expressed by the patient with all parties involved.
- All complaints receive an acknowledgement within 3 working days of receipt, either by phone, email or in writing.
- Provide a full written response within 20 working days of receipt where possible. Where the investigation is still in progress, we will write to the complainant explaining the reason for the delay and supply a full response when a conclusion has been reached. This procedure will ensure that the complainant receives written confirmation and, where possible, mutual agreement to the stages of the investigation and of the action taken.
- If the complaint is made on behalf of someone else, a signed consent form will be required prior to responding to the complainant.
The practice will maintain an annual register of complaints received, including information on whether or not the complaint was upheld, the results and action taken and a written record of each investigation. This information is required by the NHS Governing Authorities. To ensure good practice and that any learning and clinical governance issues are explored, the practice will instigate its significant event process to review the efficacy and effectiveness of the service. It is also essential that those who work within the organisation feel able to raise concerns, through the appropriate channels, about their colleagues’ performances with impunity and these problems are thoroughly investigated.
It is hoped that a complaint may be satisfactorily dealt with via the relevant in-house complaints procedure. However, if a patient feels that they are not able to raise a complaint with the practice or is dissatisfied with the result of our investigation, they may wish to contact the NHS England Customer Contact Centre:
· Tel: 0300 311 22 33
· Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Post: NHS England, PO Box 16728, Redditch, B97 9PT
If a patient is dissatisfied with the way the complaint has been handled by any organisation, they may wish to approach the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman who will review the complaint. (Tel. 0345 0154033 or email@example.com). A member of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Team will be allocated to the case and will review the issues it raises, with the help of expert advice if necessary.
Patients may also like to take advice from the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) (Tel: 01225 762723, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org). This completely independent and free service is intended to provide additional support to patients and will act as their advocate if required.
Any NHS patient who is treated by an independent organisation continues to have access to the NHS complaints procedure.