Suggestions and Complaints
We welcome suggestions for improvements to our services.
We strive to provide the best possible care to all our patients and we always welcome your views or suggestions to help us improve our service to you.
If you have any suggestions for us on how our service could be improved please speak with one of the reception staff who will be more than happy to make a note and pass it on to the relevant staff.
Complaints should be addressed to our Practice Manager, or to the Health Professional that you see.
Every complaint will be acknowledged in writing within 5 working days and it will be explained to you when you can expect a further response once an initial investigation has taken place.
We will try our best to fully understand every point of view and will notify you of the outcome.
If you’re not satisfied with this we will invite you to attend the surgery, with a friend if you would like to to discuss the complaint and the findings of our internal investigation.
Where necessary the practice will consider any internal action required to ensure a similar incident does not occur in the future.
Complaints Policy in Detail
Hope Citadel Healthcare operate a number of GP practices in the area. Our group Complaints Policy is published below.
Who may complain?
- A patient who is receiving treatment from the practice or a former patient who has received treatment from the practice; or
- The representative of a dead patient, where in the opinion of the complaints manager the representative had sufficient interest in the deceased patient’s welfare (for example a family member); or
- A child, where the representative is:
- The child’s parent, guardian or other adult who has care of the child; or
- Where the child is in the care of the Local Authority (LA) or voluntary organisation (VO), the representative must be authorised by the LA or VO as appropriate
- A patient who has asked the representative to act on their behalf and has given their consent; or
- The representative of a patient unable to complain personally due to mental or physical incapacity, where in the opinion of the complaints manager the representative has sufficient interest in the incapacitated patient’s welfare (for example a family member).
Period within which Complaints can be made
Complaints must be made within 12 months of the incident happening. Where a complaint falls outside of the above time frame the Complaints Manager may still decide to investigate it if the complainant has a good reason for the delay and if given the delay the matter may still be investigated effectively.
Handling of Complaints
A complaint may be made verbally or in writing (including electronically via email or on websites such as NHS Choices) and upon receipt, will be forwarded to the Practice’s Complaints Manager immediately. The Complaints Manager will:
- Acknowledge the complaint in writing within 5 working days of receiving it. Post will be sent by recorded delivery. In exceptional circumstances, where it is not possible to reply within 5 working days, the reply will be sent at the earliest opportunity with an apology and explanation for the delay. The acknowledgement will be copied to any person or member of staff who is identified as the subject of the complaint.
- The complaints manager will assess the complaint to ascertain if it contains material that, had it been sent to the Local Authority, would have been dealt with under the Social Services Complaints Regulations. Should this be the case the Complaints manager will write within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint to enquire whether the complainant would like the details forwarding to the Local Authority. In these circumstances the complainant will be informed as to which aspects of the complaint are being dealt with under the NHS regulations and which under the Social Services Regulations. Hope Citadel Healthcare will co-operate with the Local Authority to ensure the complainant receives a co-ordinated response.
- Fully investigate the complaint to the extent necessary, establishing facts, involving the Lead GP at each site especially where clinical opinion and input is required, and keeping the complainant informed of progress made. Each complaint will be assessed and a level of 1. Seriousness, 2. Likelihood of recurrence and 3. Risk level will be undertaken (“complaints regulations February 2009”)
- Send a detailed written response to the complainant within 10 working days of the complaint. Where the investigation is especially complex the response will be sent as soon as is practicable and the complainant will be informed of when a response can be expected. This response will be copied to any person or member of staff who is identified as the subject of the complaint.
- Ensure that full records regarding the complaint and all subsequent investigations and correspondence are kept. These records will be kept separate from the patient’s medical records.
Where appropriate the response may offer the complainant a formal meeting with the Complaints Manager alone, or with the Lead GP and/or other clinical and administrative staff where involvement deems appropriate to discuss the findings. Consideration will be given to the use of independent conciliation services at this meeting. All post will be sent by recorded delivery.
The Written Response will include (NHS Executive, 1996):
- A summary of the complaint;
- An explanation of the practice’s view of events;
- An apology, where appropriate;
- The outcome of any meetings;
- Details of what actions have been taken to prevent any future reoccurrence of the incident, where appropriate;
- Information about NHS complaints procedures and what can happen next – perhaps a meeting to discuss the findings;
- An explanation that the complaint can be referred to the Health Service or
- Local Government Ombudsman for review should the complainant remain unhappy about Hope Citadel Healthcare’s response.
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 be communicated with the patient:-
- The complaint will be managed by one named individual at senior level who will be the only contact for the patient. This could be a senior manager or a member of the Executive Management Team.
- Contact will be limited to one method only (e.g. in writing);
- A time limit will be placed on each contact;
- The number of contacts in a time period will be restricted;
- A witness will be present for all face to face contacts;
- Repeated complaints about the same issue will be refused;
- Only acknowledge correspondence regarding a closed matter and not respond to it;
- Set behaviour standards;
- Return irrelevant documentation;
- Keep detailed records.
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.