Downloads & Links
- Our complaints leaflet
- Consent form if complaining on behalf of someone else
- Doctors: Ramesh Mehay & Ashraf Khan
- Admin: Chris Rushton
16 June 2016
Date of Next Review
We always value feedback from patients, whether it’s about our services, staff, service you’ve received, the website, or anything related. This applies to staff as well as patients. It helps us to improve, and we really do try to take on board any suggestions made – and in that way, you will be happier as will be the other people we look after. . Please also tell us where we have done well so that we can continue to maintain our high standard and not rest on our laurels. There is a comments and suggestions box at our desk in reception (who will also be happy to provide you with a piece of paper and pen).
Dealing with complaints can at times be stressful and difficult; this is why we believe that a good system for dealing with complaints, supported by all practice staff. This webpage not only outlines how you can make a complaint, comment or suggestion, but also outlines the complaints procedure so that everyone working in the practice is familiar with it. It is much better that we deal with comments, suggestions and complaints within the practice rather than allowing a grumble to turn into something that becomes unnecessarily big and ugly and unnecessarily involves the Health Care Commission.
Comments and suggestions are valuable. Patients often have good ideas about ways of improving things that we are too close to the work to see for ourselves.
How to make a complaint, comment or suggestion
We want patients and staff to express comments, suggestions and complaints to the practice when they feel dissatisfied with the service provided. Please write to us soom after your experience of the situation about which you wish to complain. There are several ways of doing this…
- Talks to us: 01274 612 279. Ask to speak to our Practice Manager, Mr Chris Rushton. While the Practice Manager is responsible for administering the complaints system, any member of our team can be the first point of contact for someone who wishes to complain. All members of our staff will be familiar with the content of the practice complaints leaflet, and copies are available for patients.
- Write to us: The Practice Manager, Complaints & Comments, Ashcroft Surgery, Newlands Way, Eccleshill, Bradford, BD10 0JE
- Email us: We have three email addresses – each for different things. And do remember to tell us about things we do which you like too (compliments); we will try our best to continue doing them.
If you do not feel able to raise your complaint with us or you are dissatisfied with the result of our investigation, we suggest you might want to contact the Patient Advisory Liaison Service (PALS) service via 0845 111 5000, or write ot PCT PALS, Douglas Mill, Bowling Old Lane, Bradford, BD5 7JR. They will be able to discuss the complaints procedures with you. However, if you remain dissatisfied you may ask the Healthcare Commission to review your complaint. This should be done within two months of receipt of the final response to your complaint or at the end of the practice complaints procedures. You can contact the Commission Complaints Team at Peter House, Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5AN or visit the website on www.healthcarecommission.org.uk You may also like to contact the independent complaints advocacy service (ICAS). ICAS can give you independent help and advice in making a complaint. The telephone number to contact is 08451 203734. However, having said all of that, please do try and talk with the practice first – we are here to help make things better.
What we will do
We shall acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days and aim to have looked into your complaint within 10 working days of the date when you raised it with us, or advise you of why it is taking longer than this. We shall then be in a position to offer you an explanation, or a meeting with the people involved. When we look into 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 would like this;
- make sure you receive an apology, where this is appropriate;
- identify what we can do to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.
Did you know….
We regularly discuss complaints at a team meeting on Mondays. But we also do a year end summary sheet showing all complaints received in the previous 12 months. Although we handle each complaint as and when they come in (i.e. in a timely fashion), the purpose of this annual meeting is for confirmation and an overall review.
We look back periodically to see what people have complained about or commented on, whether complaints have led to improvement in patient services, or whether there is further action we should take.
We also review the way the complaints system itself is working. We welcome comments from staff on the operation of the system at any time. The meeting is chaired by the Practice Manager who also records the discussion in the minutes. The purpose of this annual meeting is to
- Ensure the right thing had been done in the end.
- Review learning outcomes for the practice or individuals.
- Ensure tweaks to our practice systems (in order to make things better) have occurred.
When things get heated up
When you’re in a situation which you are unhappy with, undoubtedly emotions will fly sky high between you and the other person. These feelings can sometimes be so high that they can stop you from saying what you really want to say. If you are ever in a situation where emotions fly high, we would suggest writing a complaint a day or two after the situation to allow these feelings to settle a little so that you are in a better position to rationally collect your thoughts and be able to really express what you want to say.
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 his or her permission to do so. A note signed by the person concerned will be needed, unless they are incapable (because of illness or infirmity) of providing this.
How long have I got to complain?
Try and raise the issue shortly after the situation you wish to complain about – ideally within a few days or at most a few weeks – because this will enable us to establish what happened more easily. If it is not possible to do that, please let us have details of your complaint:
- within 6 months of the incident that caused the problem: or
- within 6 months of discovering that you have a problem, provided this is within 12 months of the incident. If greater than 12 months, please justify the delay.
PRACTICAL GUIDANCE FOR STAFF
- All of our staff need to have read the practice complaints leaflet and understand the complaints procedure – if you are reading this and haven’t done so, do so now.
- Dealing with people who are distressed or angry is not easy – therefore, the first contact in these situations is very important. Remember, you are the representative for the practice when someone makes contact with you to complain.
- Remember to handle the complaint with care and sensitivity. Express an apology and show genuine concern on behalf of the practice.
- Offer a private place in which to talk about the problem
- You will need to make notes – either with the person complaining or after your conversation with them. Record important dates too. If the complaint is quite lengthy and complex, you may want to make notes whilst the patient is with you – ask for permission to do so and say something like ‘Do you mind if I make some notes so that I get the message across as accurately as possible and so that you complaint is handled properly and taken seriously?’. If you decide to do it after the patient has left, then be sure to write things up immediately afterwards; otherwise, you will forget and your notes will be less accurate and less reliable.
- Do not offer any explanation at this stage, as the matter has yet to be investigated.
- Always give the person a copy of the practice complaints leaflet – so that they know how to make a more formal complaint should they wish to.
- After the initial contact with any person wishing to make a complaint, you must pass on the details of the complaint to the Practice Manager (PM) without delay. We have to send a written acknowledgement of receipt of the written complaint within 2 working days. Do not investigate the complaint any further yourself – the assistant PM or PM will then make contact with the person complaining. The PM will investigate the complaint fully, arranging a meeting with those involved, if appropriate. The practice will then send a response to the person complaining within 10 working days or advise why additional time is required. Any subsequent queries from the complainant should be referred to the Asst PM or PM.
HOW TO CALM THE ANGRY PERSON DOWN
- First of all apologise – even if the specific situation had nothing to do with you. Apologise on behalf of the practice.
- Second – keep yourself calm. The other person being angry can easily make you more angry or defensive in return. It;s important to remind yourself to be calm.
- Then- listen! Close your mouth, and open you ears. It’s important to establish the correct facts. If anything is unclear to you, seek clarification through phrases like ‘Would you mind telling me more about xxxx to help me understand it better?’. Don’t try and be antagonist. Try to empathise and show genuine concern.
- Try and move the conversation to a level which is more comfortable by helping the person relax a little. The way to do this is through being genuinely interested in their complaint and expressing concern and the apology (even though it might not be your fault specifically). It is important that the complainant realises that the complaint will be dealt with professionally and sympathetically. People get more agitated if you make excuses and start being defensive. In some cases, it is important to explain something important to the complainant about why something was done to help put the situation into context, but that should not be your starting point. Your starting point is to listen, show genuine concern and a desire to help the patient. Once emotions are settled, then you can add any explanation if you think that it will help and if it feels like the right thing to do at that point.
WHAT IS THE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE/PROCESS?
The aim is for local resolution within the Practice BUT the patient can request an independent review of the case through the Health Care commission OR could discuss with the PCT complaints manager. Local resolution should always be fully exhausted first.
The Complainant’s Rights
- Be heard/taken seriously
- Receive all relevant information & facts relating to the complaint
- Request an independent review
- Complain to the ombudsman if still dissatisfied
The Complainant does not have the right to
- Initially request an independent enquiry into the complaint.
- Transgress acceptable standards of behaviour whilst pursuing their complaint
It is the complainant’s responsibility to fully explain the basis of the complaint.
- It is the Practice’s responsibility to respond to the complaint within an agreed timescale.
- Complaints can be submitted within 6 months of the event or within 6 months of ‘awareness’ of an event.
- If not resolved within the Practice the complainant has 2 months in which to apply to the Health Care commission requesting an independent review
- If 12 months or more has passed since the event, then the reason for the delay should be stated. The practice can in this instance decline to deal with the complaint.
- Act quickly!
- Verbal – invite the patient for a private discussion to establish details of their grievance
- Written – provide a full explanation & avoid prolonging the process. Aim to respond to a written complaint within 2 days. Aim to provide a full response (or a meeting) within 10 days
- Keep copies of all correspondence related to the complaint
- Make notes from related meetings
Handling Complaints – Basic Guidelines
- Do not ignore complaints
- Act quickly – speed is often the key to successful resolution
- Address the complainant face to face whenever possible
- Provide & record a full response to the complaint – learn from the outcome
- Apologise for events if appropriate
- Obtain all expert advice available
- DO NOT assume that every complaint is trivial/a nuisance – chances to meet/identify problems should not be lost
How to Respond
- Acknowledge within 2 working days & respond addressing concerns (avoid using the word ‘complaint’ too often)
- Make your own concern obvious (Make it clear that you are not responding just because you have no choice)
- If appropriate, explain the sequence of events leading to the error/problem
- Offer to meet the patient to discuss the issue & expand on your solutions
- Explain their right to independent local review if they are still dissatisfied and provide contact details
- ‘Sleep’ on your letter of response – do not be overly emotive/negative
- If appropriate – i.e. complaint clinical in nature – consider contacting the LMC or relevant defence organisation to discuss the issue in depth before committing the details to a letter