PATIENT INFORMATION >>
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 PATIENT INFORMATION

We welcome compliments, suggestions, or concerns about the service you have received from the doctors or any of the staff working in this practice.

We operate a practice complaints procedure as part of a NHS system for dealing with complaints.

As a patient of the NHS you have the right to:

Have your complaint dealt with efficiently and within an agreed timescale
Have your complaint properly investigated
Be informed of the outcome of your complaint
Take your complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman if you are not satisfied with the outcome

How to complain (Local Resolution)

We hope that most problems can be sorted out 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 in writing as soon as possible.

We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days and offer to make arrangements to discuss your concerns.  We will also give you an idea of how long our investigation may take

We will then investigate your complaint within the practice.

We will keep you informed of the progress of our investigation

We will send you a response explaining the outcome of our investigation and any actions to be taken as a result

We will aim to have looked into your complaint within an agreed timescale.   When we look into your complaint, we shall aim to:

1. Find out what happened and what went wrong;
2. Make it possible for you to discuss the problem with those concerned, if you would like this;
3. Make sure you receive an apology, where this is appropriate;
4. Identify what we can do to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.

Complaining on behalf of someone else

Please note that 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 signed by the person concerned will be needed, unless they are incapable (because of illness) of providing this.

Help and Advice

NHS complaints advocacy service

Healthwatch West Sussex Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service (IHCAS)
The Billingshurst Community Centre
Roman Way, Billingshurst RH14 9QW
Tel: 0300 012 0122


What to do if you are not happy with our response

If you are not happy with our response (local resolution) you can ask for an ‘independent review’:

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
Millbank
London SW1P 4QP
Tel: 0345 015 4033
Email: phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk
Fax: 0300 061 4000  

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 COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

POLICY

The Practice will take reasonable steps to ensure that patients are aware of:

The complaints procedure
The role of NHS Sussex and other bodies in relation to complaints about services under the contract.  This includes the ability of the patient to complain directly to NHS Sussex as an alternative to a complaint to the practice, and to escalate to the Ombudsman where dissatisfied with the outcome.  Note: There is no right of escalation to NHS Sussex where a patient is dissatisfied with the practice response and all escalations are to the Ombudsman only.
Their right to assistance with any complaint from independent advocacy services.

The principal method of achieving this is the Complaints Patient Information Leaflet, the Practice Leaflet and website incorporation.

Complaints should be addressed to Mrs Felicity Belkin, Practice Business Manager.

The lead GP Partner for complaints handling is Dr Amer Banayoti.

PROCEDURE

Persons who may make complaints

A complaint may be made by:

A person who receives or has received services from a responsible body; or
A person who is affected, or likely to be affected, by the action, omission or decision or the responsible body which is the subject of the complaint.
A person who is the representative of a person who has died, is a child, is unable to make the complaint themselves due to a physical incapacity, or lack of capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, or has requested the representative to act on their behalf.

Where a representative makes a complaint on behalf of a child, the responsible body to which the complaint is made:

must not consider the complaint unless it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the complaint being made by the representative instead of the child; and
If it is not so satisfied, must notify the representative in writing, and state the reason for its decision.

All complaints, written and verbal will be recorded, and written complaints will be acknowledged in writing within 3 working days of receipt.  Patients will be encouraged to complain in writing where possible.  The reply to the patient will be negotiated with the complainant in the letter of acknowledgement, or the patient should be provided with an update and an estimated timescale.

PERIOD WITHIN WHICH COMPLAINTS CAN BE MADE

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 which is the subject of the complaint comes to the complainant’s notice.

Complaints should normally be resolved within 6 months but practices are free to set their own timescales.  

The Practice Business Manager or lead GP has the discretion to extend the time limits if the complainant has good reason for not making the complaint sooner, or where it is still possible to properly investigate the complaint despite extended delay.

When considering an extension to the time limit it is important that the Practice Business Manager or the GP takes into consideration that the passage of time may prevent an accurate recollection of events by the clinician concerned or by the person bringing the complaint.  The collection 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 reason for declining a time limit extension.

Action upon Receipt of a Complaint
Complaints may be received either verbally or in writing and must be forwarded to the Practice Business Manager (or the lead GP if the Practice Business Manager is unavailable), who must:

Acknowledge in writing within the period of 3 working days beginning with the day on which the complaint was made or, where that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable.  Include an offer to discuss the matter in person.  The discussion will include agreement with the patient as to how they wish the complaint to be handled.
Advise the patient of potential timescales and the next steps.
Where the complaint is made verbally a written record will be taken and a copy will be provided to the complainant.
Ensure the complaint is properly investigated.  Where the complaint involves more than one organization the Practice Business Manager will liaise with his/her counterpart to agree responsibilities and ensure that one coordinated response is sent;
Where the complaint has been sent to the incorrect organization, advise the patient within 3 working days and ask them if they want it to be forwarded on.  If it is sent on, advise the patient of the full contact details;
Provide a written response to the patient as soon as reasonably practicable ensuring that the patient is kept up to date with progress as appropriate.  Where a response is not possible within the agreed timescale provide an update report to the patient with an estimate of the timescale.  The final reply will include a full report and a statement advising them of their right to take the matter to the Ombudsman if required.

Unreasonable Complaints

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 will be communicated to the patient:

The complaint will be managed by one named individual at senior level who will be the only contact for the patient
Contact will be limited to one method only (e.g. in writing)
Place a time limit on each contact
The number of contacts in a time period will be restricted
A witness will be present for all contacts
Repeated complaints about the same issue will be refused
Only acknowledge  correspondence regarding a closed matter, not respond to it
Set behaviour standards
Return irrelevant documentation
Keep detailed records

Final Response

This will include:

A clear statement of the issues, investigations and the findings, giving clear evidence-based reasons for decisions if appropriate
Where errors have occurred, explain these fully and state what will be done to put these right, or prevent repetition
A focus on fair and proportionate outcomes for the patient, including any remedial action or compensation
A clear statement that the response is the final one, or that further action  or reports will be sent later
An apology or explanation as appropriate
A statement of the right to escalate the complaint, together with the relevant contact detail

Annual Review of Complaints

The Practice will undertake an annual complaints review and make a report, incorporating a review of complaints received, along with any learning issues or changes to procedures which have arisen.  This report is to be made available to any person who requests it, and may form part of the Freedom of Information Act Publication Scheme.

This will include:

Details of the number of complaints received
Justified/unjustified analysis
Known referrals to the Ombudsman
Subject matter/categorization/clinical carer
Learning points
Methods of complaints management
Any changes to procedure, policies or care which have resulted

Confidentiality

All complaints must be treated in the strictest confidence

Where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of the patient’s medical records, the Practice Business 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.