This guide is to help you make a complaint about services provided by our surgeries at Wickersley, Ravenfield, or Braithwell, and what you can expect to happen as part of the complaints process.
Making a complaint – the first steps
Why is it important to complain?
If you are not happy with the care or treatment you have received in our Practice, or any part of our service to you as a patient, it is important that you tell us why, so that we can seek to improve and / or change the way we work. You will not be treated any differently simply because you have made a complaint.
Can someone complain for me, or can I complain for someone else?
Normally it is always best if you make your complaint yourself. However, if you feel anxious about doing this, or if the condition of your health is such that you are medically incapable of doing so, you can always ask a relative or friend to complain on your behalf.
We adhere strictly to the rules of patient confidentiality; therefore if someone is complaining on your behalf we will need you to complete a consent form first in order to allow a third party to do so. Consent is not needed in situations where the person is not able to consent e.g. if the person is very young, if the patient has died, or is too ill. A consent form is included with this pack, (see page 6).
What do I want to achieve?
Before making a complaint, it is important to think about what you want to achieve by complaining, as the complaints procedure can only deal with certain matters.
Under the complaints procedure, the Morthen Road Group Practice will:
- Offer an apology where appropriate, or some other statement of regret;
- Carry out an investigation and offer an explanation for what has happened;
- Take steps to put matters right and give reassurance that we have done so.
- Co-ordinate a response in cases of complaints involving services carried out by health service staff who are not employees of the Practice, e.g. Midwives, District Nurses, Health Visitors, Mental Health workers.
However, we are UNABLE TO:
- Offer you (or help you to claim) financial compensation.
- ‘Strike off’ a doctor or other health professional, or suspend their registration.
- Deal with complaints concerning private medical treatment.
- Deal with complaints regarding treatment you have received elsewhere, e.g. in hospital.
- Deal with issues relating to the out-of-hours service, Walk-In Centre or NHS 111.
Is there a time limit for making a complaint?
Generally speaking, you should normally complain within 12 months of the incident you are concerned about, or of becoming aware of the matter complained about. However, it is always best to make your complaint as soon as possible, as the memory of all involved will be fresher and it will be easier to investigate and establish the facts.
Making a complaint – how do I start?
The practice prefers that all formal complaints should be submitted IN WRITING. The reason for this is that you, (or the person complaining on your behalf), can set out details of the issues you are unhappy about in a clear and concise manner, without any of the emotional elements that can be present in a face- to- face encounter.
By doing so, we can be sure that we have got accurate details of your concerns, expressed in your own (or your representative’s) words, which may not be achieved by other methods.
We are also required to provide an analysis of complaints received to NHS Rotherham as part of our contract with them, hence the need for us to have written evidence. Please be reassured that patients are not identified by name in this process.
However, if you wish to complain verbally, you should ask for a meeting with our Practice Manager (who is our Complaints Manager), or you can complain by telephone. In both cases, our Complaints Manager will take notes of what was said and the issues you have raised.
What does the practice do if it receives a complaint?
Upon receipt of a written complaint, our Practice Manager will:
- Acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing - normally within three working days of us receiving it. This letter will inform you how soon you should expect a full response or explanation from the practice.
- Where appropriate, carry out an investigation of the issue(s) that you have complained about. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Practice Manager will write to you again, informing you of the findings of the investigation. The timescale for doing this will vary according to the complexity of the complaint. However, you will be advised of an estimated timescale for receiving a response from the Practice and you will also be kept informed if this cannot be met for any reason.
- Make every effort to resolve the matter to your satisfaction.
In most situations it will not be necessary to telephone you; however in more complex cases it may become necessary for our Practice Manager to talk to you about your concerns or to clarify any points of uncertainty. You may be offered the opportunity to make an appointment for a face to face meeting if it is considered that this will be helpful in resolving your complaint more effectively.
What should I include in a letter of complaint?
You do not need to write a long and very detailed letter, but you should include all the points you want to complaint about. You should tell us:
- Who or what you are complaining about. Try to make clear the most important points. If you are complaining about a member of staff, please give their name and their position if you know it;
- Where and when the events you are complaining about happened;
- What you have already done about your complaint, if anything;
- What outcome you would like to receive from your complaint.
If for any reason you do not wish to complain directly to the Practice you may contact any of the following:
Rotherham Borough Council
Healthwatch is the local consumer champion for health and social care services in Rotherham and provides a local independent complaints Advocacy service run by Rotherham Borough Council. It aims to provide advice and support for patients, their families and carers who wish to make a complaint about Rotherham’s NHS services.
Telephone number - (via the main switchboard) on 01709 382121
The service, which can be contacted by telephone, letter or e-mail, aims to provide:
- A general health information service, including information on access to emergency dental appointments.
- Information on health organisations and support groups.
- Confidential advice and support in raising concerns or sharing comments.
- An appointment service for people who would like face to face help
2. NHS England Complaints
PO Box 16738
Telephone number: 0300 311 2233
The service is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (excluding bank holidays)
3. Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS)
(Yorkshire and Humberside, covering Hull, Rotherham & York)
The Patrick Tobin Business Park
Telephone number: 0845 120 3734
ICAS is a totally independent body which can be accessed directly by patients.
- Generally provide you with help and support with making your complaint
- Provide a self-help pack so that you can deal with your own complaint
- Put you in touch with other people who can help you
- Involve an interpreter or a translator if you need one
- Meet you in a place where you feel comfortable if you are not able to visit their office or speak on the phone.
4. The Police
If your complaint concerns something which you think might be a criminal matter, such as alleged fraud, sexual abuse, drug offences, or murder, then you may wish to consider raising the matter with the police.
What can you do if your complaint still can’t be resolved?
If, after the Practice (or other agency) has done all it can to try and resolve your complaint, you are still not satisfied, you can ask the Health Service Ombudsman to review the matter.
The Health Service Ombudsman can be contacted in the following ways:
- Visit www.ombudsman.org.uk
- Telephone the complaints helpline on 0345 015 4033 (Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm)
- Email email@example.com
- Fax 0300 061 4000
- Write to:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
The Ombudsman investigates complaints about services provided within the NHS. Before the Ombudsman will look into your complaint, he will usually expect you to have made every effort to have resolved your complaint through the Practice complaints procedure; unless he judges that in your particular circumstances it would be unreasonable for you to do so. The Ombudsman is independent of the NHS and the Government and there is no charge for his service.
And finally - what if I want to compliment or praise the Practice?
Although it is important to tell us when you are unhappy with the service you have received, it is also important to let staff know when you are pleased with your care and treatment, so that we can develop good practice and improve the quality of care. Writing a letter of thanks to members of staff will boost morale and encourage them to do their job well. Similarly, if you are writing a letter of complaint, but there were some aspects of your care of treatment that you were happy with, you may want to say something about this too.
Consent form – To be completed by the patient where possible.
Full name of patient (Please Print):
Date of Birth:
Your relationship or connection to person making the complaint on your behalf:
I hereby authorise: _________________________________
( Please print the name of the person making the complaint)
Address of person: (if different from the above)
to act on my behalf and to receive such information as may be considered relevant to my complaint.
I understand that any information given about myself is limited to that which is relevant to the investigation of the complaint, and only disclosed to those people who I have consented to acting on my behalf.
Signature of patient: