Comments, complaints and suggestions are welcome on any aspect of the Practice and the services it provides. Please be assured that all information will be treated confidentially at all times.
If you wish to discuss any matter with us, please ask to speak with our Managing Partner, Ms Berni Judge.
The Pocklington Group Practice follows the NHS Guidelines on dealing with comments, complaints or suggestions about the way that the Practice provides services to its patients.
If patients are not happy with the NHS care or treatment they have received or they have been refused treatment for a condition, they have always had the following rights:
- have a complaint dealt with efficiently and have it properly investigated,
- know the outcome of any investigation into the complaint,
- have their complaint investigated by a higher authority if they were not satisfied with the way in which the NHS had dealt with their complaint,
- make a claim for judicial review if they felt they had been directly affected by an unlawful act or decision of an NHS body
All the above still stands today and it is the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman who will undertake independent reviews of complaints where complainants are not satisfied with the way the NHS has dealt with their complaint. This change has been brought about by new legislation which, on 1 April 2009, saw the creation of the Care Quality Commission, bringing together the responsibilities of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Mental Health Act Commission and the Healthcare Commission. The new legislation has brought about key changes to the way in which NHS complaints are to be handled which means that there will be only two stages to resolving complaints; local resolution at practice/NHS England level or referral to the Ombudsman.
Within this Practice, there are two people who will be involved in the complaints process – the Complaints Manager (the Managing Partner) who is responsible for handling and considering complaints in line with the new legislation and the Responsible Person (the Senior Partner) who will ensure that compliance with the complaints procedure is achieved.
When should a complaint be made?
Complaints should be made as soon as possible, normally within 12 months of the date of the event being complained about or as soon as the matter first came to the complainant’s attention.
The time limit can be extended sometimes (so long as it is still possible to investigate the complaint). An extension might be possible, for example, in situations where it would have been difficult for the patient to complain earlier, such as if they were grieving or undergoing trauma.
Who can complain?
A complaint can be made by a patient, or anyone else who has been affected by the action, omission or decision of the practice that led to the complaint.
There are a number of cases when a complaint may be made by a third party acting on behalf of someone else; when the individual has died, when the individual is a child, or when the individual is physical or mentally incapable of making a complaint. An individual is also permitted to request that a third party makes the complaint on their behalf.
When a complaint is made by a third party on behalf of a child or individual lacking mental capacity, the practice must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for this method of representation and that the third party is genuinely acting in the best interests of the individual. If the practice is not satisfied that this is the case, they must inform the representative in writing, stating the reasons for this decision.
Who does a patient complain to?
Where a patient wishes to make a complaint about a GP Practice, the most appropriate step is normally to raise the matter with the Complaints Manager within the practice, either orally or in writing. This is referred to as local resolution and most cases are resolved at this stage. However, patients can choose to complain to NHS England instead if they wish – note the paragraph about complaints to NHS England on page 3 of this document.
Procedure for Oral Complaints which can be resolved by the end of the next working day
Where patients wish to make an oral complaint which can be resolved by the end of the next working day, such complaints should be brought to the attention of the Complaints Manager (Managing Partner). Such complaints do not have to be dealt with under the following procedure.
Procedure for Written/Oral Complaints which cannot be resolved by the end of the next working day
For written complaints or oral complaints which cannot be resolved to the patient’s satisfaction by the end of the next working day, these should be brought to the attention of the Complaints Manager (Managing Partner) who will ensure the following:
- agree which responsible body will co-ordinate the handling of the complaint and any communications with the complainant
- acknowledge receipt of any complaint either orally or in writing within three working days and offer to discuss the matter further
- include in the discussion with the patient how the complaint will be handled and the likely period for completion of the investigation and responding to the complainant. (If the complainant does not accept the offer of a discussion, the responsible body must determine a specified response period and notify the complainant in writing of that period.)
- accept a request from NHS England to handle a complaint received by them and send an acknowledgement to the complainant within three working days (as long as NHS England receive consent from the complainant that they wish the practice to have details of the complaint and for the practice to handle their complaint.) – see separate note below.
- record all oral complaints in writing and provide a copy of the written record for the complainant
- investigate complaints appropriately and deal speedily, but efficiently with all complaints (there is no allotted timescale for resolution, as it is accepted that the requirements will differ from case to case.)
- keep the complainant informed as far as reasonably practicable of the progress of the investigation
- send the complainant a written response as soon as reasonably practicable after completing the investigation. (This response may be electronic if the complainant has consented in writing or electronically and has not withdrawn that consent.)
This response must be signed off by the “Responsible Person” (unless they are absent for a prolonged period of time) and include a report containing the following details:
- an explanation of how the complaint has been considered
- the conclusions reached, including any matters for which the complaint specifies, or the responsible body considers, that remedial action is needed
- confirmation that the responsible body is satisfied that action needed in consequence of the complaint has been, or is proposed, to be taken
- details of the complainant’s right to take their complaint to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)
- monitor and record
- each complaint;
- the subject matter and outcome of each complaint
- the fact that the complainant was notified of the response period specified, any amendment of that period and whether a report was sent to the complainant within that period
- produce an annual report for NHS England as soon as practicable after 31 March for the preceding 12 months including:
- the number of complaints received
- the number of complaints that were shown to be well founded
- the number of complaints that the practice has been informed have been passed to the PHSO
- a summary of the subject matter of complaints
- any matters of general importance arising
- the way in which complaints were handled
- the issues they raise and any matters where action has been taken or is to be taken to improve services as a consequence of those complaints
Complaints made directly to NHS England
If a complaint about a Practice is made directly to NHS England, they will seek permission from the complainant to share the details of the complaint with the practice otherwise it cannot pursue the complaint. Once permission has been granted, NHS England may decide that it is still appropriate that they handle the complaint. However, it is the intention set out in this guidance that complaints should be managed as near to the complainant as possible and therefore NHS England may wish to pass the complaint to the practice to be handled. In such cases, the complainant would be informed and their consent obtained before this was undertaken. In such cases, the complaint would then be deemed as having been made to the practice rather than to NHS England.
NHS Commissioning Board, PO Box 16738, REDDITCH, B97 9PT
Telephone: 0300 311 2233
Where a complainant is still dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation of their complaint, they can refer the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman who is completely independent of the NHS and government:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower, Millbank, LONDON SW1P 4QP
Helpline: 0345 015 4033
Fax: 0300 061 4000
Who can help?
Making a complaint can feel like a daunting process, but there is help available.
The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) is a free, confidential and independent service which can help you make a formal complaint about NHS services. You can contact your local ICAS directly. Find it in the phone book or through the hospital manager.
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can advise on NHS complaints.
Citizens Advice Bureau, The Youth Centre, New Street, Pocklington
East Yorkshire YO42 2QA
Telephone: 0300 330 0888
Pocklington Group Practice
This policy has been created using information from the following sources:
Northern Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire Local Medical Committees
Department of Health