Complaints Procedure

Complaints Procedure

Our aim is to give you the highest possible standard of service and we will try to deal quickly with any problems that may occur. We operate a practice complaints procedure as part of the NHS system for dealing with complaints. If you have a complaint or are concerned about the service you have received from the doctors or from any of the staff working in the practice, please let us know.

How to complain

We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, ideally 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 or the NHS England Complaints coordinator know as soon as possible.

A complaint should be made as soon as possible after an event and not more than 12 months after the date the matter complained about occurred or the date that the patient/client was aware of the event. The time limit should be extended if there were good grounds for not making the complaint earlier and it is still possible to investigate the complaint fairly and effectively.

Complaints should be addressed to the Practice Manager, a GP Partner or NHS England Complaints co-ordinator. Alternatively, you can make an appointment with the Practice Manager in order to discuss your concerns.

The Practice Manager will explain the complaints procedure to you and will make sure that your concerns are dealt with promptly and carefully, it will be of great help if you are as specific as possible about your complaint.

What we shall do

We shall acknowledge your complaint in writing within 2 working days or, where that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable to ensure the complaint is properly investigated. The length of time to investigate and respond to your complaint will be appropriate to the complexity / nature of your complaint. We shall aim to:

Find out what happened and what went wrong

  • Make it possible for you to discuss the problem with those concerned (if you wish to do this)
  • Make sure you received an apology (where this is appropriate)
  • Try to make sure that the problem does not occur again

Complaining on behalf of someone else

We keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have their permission to do so. A note singed by the person concerned will be required, unless they are incapable (because of illness) of providing this.

If it is felt that the person making the complaint on behalf of another person is not doing so in the best interests of the other person, the complaint must not be considered under the regulations and written notification must be given to the representative stating the reason for the decision.

Complaining to NHS England

We hope that, if you have a problem, you will make use of our practice complaints system. We believe this will give us the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and provide an opportunity to improve our service. This does not affect your right to approach NHS England if you feel you cannot discuss your complaint with us, or you are dissatisfied with the result.

Complaints Manager, Nursing & Quality Directorate, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear Area Team, NHS England , Waterfront 4, Riverside, Newburn, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE15 8NY, Tel: 01138249775

You may also wish to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service who offer confidential advice and support, helping you to sort out any concerns you may have. Freephone: 0800 032 0202.

What you can do next

If you remain dissatisfied with the responses to your complaint from the Practice and NHS England, you have the right to ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review your case.

If you have any questions about whether the Ombudsman may be able to help you or about how to make a complaint please contact their helpline on 0345 015 4033, email: phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk or fax 020 7217 400. Or you can write to them at:

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, 11th Floor, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP

Further information about the Ombudsman can be found on www.ombudsman.org.uk

Should you require any direct help or advice making your complaint you can contact your local complaints advocacy support service provided by Healthwatch Northumberland, Independent Complaints Advocacy Northumberland (ICAN) who can be contacted on 0845 388 0042.

Confidentiality

All complaints are treated in the strictest confidence.

Where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of the patient’s medical records, the Practice Manager or GP Partner 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 keeps a record of all complaints and copies of all correspondence relating to complaints, but all such records are kept separate from patients’ medical records.

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 quarter will be reviewed at staff meetings which will include the Practice Manager and 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.

You can download our complaints leaflet here:  Complaints Leaflet