If you have any complaints or concerns about the service that you have received from the doctors or staff working for this practice, please let us know. We have found that most problems can be sorted out relatively easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and with the person concerned. If your problem cannot be sorted out in this way and you wish to make a complaint, we would like you to let us know as soon as possible because this will enable us to establish what happened more easily.
Who can make a complaint?
A complaint can be made by or, with consent, on behalf of a patient (i.e. as a representative); a former patient, who is receiving or has received treatment at the practice; or someone who may be affected by any decision, act or omission of the practice.
A representative may also be:
- By either parent or, in the absence of both parents, the guardian or other adult who has care of the child; 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 by a person duly authorised by a voluntary organisation by which the child is being accommodated
- Someone acting on behalf of a patient/former patient who lacks capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (i.e. who has Power of Attorney etc.) or physical capacity to make a complaint and they are acting in the interests of their welfare
- Someone acting for the relatives of a deceased patient/former patient
In all cases where a representative makes a complaint in the absence of patient consent, the practice will consider whether they are acting in the best interests of the patient and, in the case of a child, whether there are reasonable grounds for the child not making the complaint on their own behalf. In the event a complaint from a representative is not accepted, the grounds upon which this decision was based must be advised to them in writing.
Time limits for making complaints
The period for making a complaint is normally:
(a) 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint occurred; or
(b) 12 months from the date on which the event that is the subject of the complaint comes to the complainant's notice.
The practice has discretion to extend these limits if there is good reason to do so and it is still possible to carry out a proper investigation. The collection or recollection 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 reasons for declining a time limit extension, however that decision should be able to stand up to scrutiny.
How to make a verbal complaint
It is always better to try and deal with the complaint at the earliest opportunity and often it can be concluded at that point. A simple explanation and apology by staff at the time may be all that is required. Please address these to the Reception Manager or Supervisor at the practice.
How to make a written complaint
On receipt, an acknowledgement will be sent within three working days which offers the opportunity for a discussion (face-to-face or by telephone) on the matter. This is the opportunity to gain an indication of the outcome the complainant expects and also for the details of the complaint to be clarified. In the event that this is not practical or appropriate, the initial response should give some indication of the anticipated timescale for investigations to be concluded and an indication of when the outcome can be expected.
It may be that other bodies (e.g. secondary care/community services) will need to be contacted to provide evidence. If that is the case, then a patient consent form will need to be obtained at the start of the process and a pro-forma consent form included with the initial acknowledgement for return.
If it is not possible to conclude any investigations within the advised timescale, then the complainant must be updated with progress and revised time scales on a regular basis. In most cases these should be completed within six months unless all parties agree to an extension.
Written complaints can be handed in or sent to your practice for the attention of your Reception Manager or Reception Supervisor.
Please note that we keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality.
More information on our complaints procedure
Alternatively, you may complain directly to NHS England:
- Address: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT
- Telephone: 0300 311 2233