We make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our Practice.
However, we are aware that things can go wrong resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is so, we would wish for the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.
To have your complaint investigated, you usually need to complain within 12 months of the event happening, or as soon as you first become aware of the issue you want to complain about.
The time limit can be extended in special circumstances.
If you have a complaint to make, you can either contact the Practice Manager or ask the receptionist for a copy of our complaints Procedure. We endeavour to acknowledge any letter or complaints form within 3 working days of receiving it, and to deal with the matter as promptly as possible- usually within 20 working days- dependent on the nature of the complaint.
Who can complain
- Complainants can normally be current or former patients, or their nominated or elected representatives (who have given consent).
- Patients over the age of 16 whose mental capacity is unimpaired should normally complain themselves or authorise someone to bring a complaint on their behalf.
- Children under the age of 16 can also make their own complaint, if they’re able to do so.
If the patient’s lack capacity to make decisions, their representative must be able to demonstrate sufficient interest in the patient’s welfare and be an appropriate person to act on their behalf. This could be a partner, relative or someone appointed under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 with lasting power of attorney.
In certain circumstances, we need to check that a representative is the appropriate person to make a complaint.
- For example, if the complaint involves a child, we must satisfy ourselves that there are reasonable grounds for the representative to complain, rather than the child concerned.
- If the patient is a child or a patient who lacks capacity, we must also be satisfied that the representative is acting in the patient’s best interests.
If we are not satisfied that the representative is an appropriate person, we cannot consider the complaint, giving the representative reasons for our decision in writing.
A complaint must be made within 12 months, either from the date of the incident or from when the complainant first knew about it.
The regulations state that a responsible body should consider a complaint after this time limit if:
- the complainant has good reason for doing so, and
- it’s still possible to investigate the complaint fairly and effectively, despite the delay.
We have a two stage complaints procedure. We will always try to deal with your complaint quickly. However if it is clear that the matter will need a detailed investigation, we will tell you and keep you updated on our progress.
Stage one – Early, local resolution
- We will try to resolve your complaint within five working days if we can.
- If you are dissatisfied with our response, you can ask us to consider your complaint at Stage two.
Stage Two – Investigation
- We will look at your complaint at this stage if you are dissatisfied with our response at Stage One.
- We also look at some complaints straight away at this stage , if it is clear that they are complex or need detailed investigation.
- We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days
- We will give you out decision as soon as possible. This will be no more that 20 working days unless there is clearly a good reason for needing more time
Complain to the Ombudsman
If you’re unhappy with the final response from the Practice you can take your complaint to the ombudsman.
The ombudsman is independent of the NHS and free to use. It can help resolve your complaint, and tell the NHS how to put things right if it has got them wrong.
The ombudsman only has legal powers to investigate certain complaints. You must have received a final response from the Practice before the ombudsman can look at your complaint.
The ombudsman will generally not look into your complaint if it happened more than 12 months ago, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,
London SW1P 4QP
Phone: 0345 015 4033