Procedure for Complaints

1) Who is this document aimed at?

 Staff and Patients

  1. Introduction 

We make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our practice and we welcome any feedback or helpful suggestions you may have. 

We know that sometimes things can go wrong resulting in a genuine cause for concern or complaint.  If this happens, we hope that we can sort most problems out easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and with the person concerned. 

The purpose of the policy is to ensure that all patients (or their representatives) who have the cause to complain about their care or treatment can have freely available access to the process and can expect a truthful, full and complete response and an apology where appropriate.

Complainants have the right not to be discriminated against as the result of making a complaint and to have the outcome fully explained to them. The process adopted in the practice is fully compliant with the relevant NHS Regulations (2009) and guidance available from defence organisations, doctors’ representative bodies and the Care Quality Commission.

Everyone in the practice is expected to be aware of the process and to remember that everything they do and say may present a poor impression of the practice and may prompt a complaint or even legal action. 

The general principle of the practice in respect of all complaints will be to regard it first and foremost as a learning process, however in appropriate cases and after full and proper investigation the issue may form the basis of a separate disciplinary action.  In the case of any complaint with implications for professional negligence or legal action, the appropriate defence organisation will be informed immediately. 

The general principle of the practice in respect of all complaints will be to regard it first and foremost as a learning process, however in appropriate cases and after full and proper investigation the issue may form the basis of a separate disciplinary action.  In the case of any complaint with implications for professional negligence or legal action, the appropriate defence organisation must be informed immediately. 

3) Procedure 

3.1    Availability of information 

The practice will ensure that there are notices advising on the complaints process conspicuously displayed in reception, waiting areas and practice website.  Complaint forms are available at reception.  

3.2 What to do if you are not happy with your healthcare? 
Please follow this link https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/sites/default/files/Easy_read_Tips_on_making_a_complaint_NHS_lealfet.pdf to get a document in an easy read format

For more information in easy read, please follow this link:
https://www.england.nhs.uk/learning-disabilities/about/ask-listen-do/people-information/

4) How to complain
We believe that the quickest way of resolving a concern is by raising it directly with a member of the practice team as soon as you can.

4.1 Who is responsible at the practice for dealing with complaints? 

The practice’s "Responsible Person" is the Managing Partner, Antonia Makinde. She has responsibility for managing complaints and ensuring adequate investigations are carried out.  She is also responsible for ensuring complaints are handled in accordance with the regulations, that lessons learned are fully implemented, and that no Complainant is discriminated against for making a complaint.  

We will try to deal with your concern as quickly as possible.  You can also contact reception or ask for Kevin Monks, Reception Supervisor in order to discuss your concern. 

If he is unable to resolve your complaint and you wish to make a formal complaint, please do so in writing as soon as possible after the event, ideally within a few days. 

All written complaints should be address to the Managing Partner, Antonia Makinde, at the Practice Address.  You can email her at lewccg.g85114-general@nhs.net or use the secure contact form on our website.  You can also request a complaint form which is available at reception. 

Please describe your issue as concisely as possible. This will help us to establish what happened more easily. 

4.2 Who can a formal complaint be made to?
Complaints should be made to the Managing Partner in the first instance.  If you are not comfortable complaining directly to us, of if you feel this is not appropriate, you may choose to complain to NHS England. 

By telephone: 03003 11 22 33 
By email: england.contactus@nhs.net  
By post: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT

If complaining by email, please state ‘For the attention of the complaints team’ in the email subject line. 

In those cases where the complaint is made to NHS England, the practice will comply with all appropriate requests for information and co-operate fully in assisting them to investigate and respond to the complaint. 

4.3 If you need help with your complaint
If you feel you are unable to make a complaint yourself and need support, you can access an Independent Health Complaints Advocate.  Healthwatch Lewisham is the current provider of NHS complaints advocacy. 

Contact details are: 
Healthwatch Lewisham
2nd Floor, Old Town Hall, Catford Road, London SE6 4RU
Telephone: 0208 690 5012
Email: info@healthwatchlewisham.co.uk
http://www.healthwatchlewisham.co.uk

5) Who can make a complaint? 
A complaint can be made by

• A patient or former patient,
• On behalf of a patient (i.e. as a representative) or former patient with their consent
• 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.

Medical records are protected by the Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018.  If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we need to know that you have their permission to do so.  You will need to provide a note, dated and signed by the patient with their consent, agreeing that they are happy for you to act on their behalf. 

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

5.2 Action upon receipt of a complaint  

5.2.1  Verbal Complaints:  Staff will endeavour to address the issues by providing an explanation and apology at the time.  We do not provide written response to verbal complaints however, we will record the issue highlighted to determine themes. 
If resolution is not possible, your complaints will be referred to the Managing Partner who will set down the details of your verbal complaint in writing and the process for written complaints will be followed

5.2.2 Written Complaints:  On receipt, a written acknowledgement will be sent within three working days prior to a written response within 30 days.  A face to face or telephone discussion prior to the written response provides the opportunity to clarify the complaint.  
In instances where other bodies (e.g. secondary care/ Community Services) are involved, then the complainant’s consent will be required.  
If it is not possible to conclude any investigations within the advised timescale, you will 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.
Your care and treatment will not be affected as a result of making a complaint

6) Final Response

This will be provided to the complainant in writing (or email by mutual consent) within 30 working days, and the letter will be signed by the Responsible Person.

The letter will be on headed notepaper and include:  

• An apology if appropriate
• A clear statement of the issues, details of the investigations and the findings, and clear evidence-based reasons for decisions if appropriate
• Where errors have occurred, full explanation including any learning.
• We will endeavour to explain clinical matters in plain language
• A clear statement that the response is the final one and the practice is satisfied it has done all it can to resolve the matter at local level
• A statement of the right, if they are not satisfied with the response, to refer the complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,  Millbank Tower, Millbank,  London, SW1P 4QP

7) The Next Step

Discussions at practice meetings to focus on the following:
I. What happened and why did it happen?
II. Could anything have been done differently?
III. What lessons have been learnt?
IV. What needs to change and how will this be implemented?
V. A decision is made and recorded at the meeting on any further action that may be required.
VI. Any further action required is actioned.
VII. A review is held at the next significant event/complaints meeting to confirm the validity of the actions.

7) You can also contact your local Healthwatch to leave feedback and comments on a service. The feedback is anonymous.  Healthwatch Lewisham is independent, and acts as a patient champion in health and social care services. 

8) Other useful organisations

Lewisham Citizen Advice, Leemore Community Hub, Bonfield Road, London SE13 5EU – Tel: 0800 231 5453

Lewisham Speaking Up – Lewisham Speaking Up is an independent charity for people with learning disabilities.  Albany Centre & Theatre, Douglas Way, London SE8 4AG – Tel: 0208 691 7198 www.lsup.org.uk

Reviewed: July 2019    Next Review: July 2020