Suggestions and Complaints
We aim to provide our patients with the best care we can and would like to hear from you if you think we have done something well, or if you have suggestions on how we could do something differently. Equally, we know that there will be times when we fall short of the mark and want to know if you are unhappy with our service. We would encourage you to speak to whoever you feel most comfortable with – your doctor, nurse, receptionist or the manager, but if you’d prefer to give your feedback in writing, please send it to the Practice Manager at the address at the bottom of this page. You can also send us a message via the practice suggestion box which is situated in the front reception area or by using our secure online form. We would also welcome comments and ideas through our Patient Participation Group (PPG).
If you have a complaint, please do not be afraid to say how you feel. We welcome feedback to help us improve our standards and you will not be treated any differently because you have complained. We will do our best to put right anything that has gone wrong and this leaflet aims to help you make your views known to us.
Patient Participation Group
You can contact the Patient Participation Group via the receptionists should you wish to join, or raise a topic of concern with the members at the next meeting.
Who can make a complaint?
Complaints can be made by patients either on their own, or by a representative (with your consent).
What are the time limits for making a complaint?
As soon as you can whilst you can remember the details clearly. Usually the NHS Complaints Procedures only deal with complaints made within 12 months of the event or discovering something to complain about. This time limit may be waived if there are good reasons why you could not let us know earlier and we can still carry out an effective investigation.
When something goes wrong
If you have a complaint or concern, the quickest way to resolve it is to speak to a member of the team and if they can resolve it straight away they will do so. If not, they will refer the matter to the practice manager who will take matters from there.
What happens next?
The practice manager will acknowledge your complaint and make contact with you to discuss the way forward. The discussion can be face to face, but need not be depending on what is most convenient for all concerned.
Your complaint will be investigated within an agreed timescale and you will be kept informed of progress.
We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days of receipt, and will aim to have reviewed your complaint within 10 days of your raising it with us. We shall then hopefully be in a position to offer you an explanation, or a meeting with the person or people involved.
In reviewing your complaint we will try and
- Find out what happened and where things might have gone wrong
- Enable you to discuss the problem with those concerned
- Make sure that you receive an apology if this is appropriate
- Identify changes we might make to ensure no recurrence of the problem.
Complaining on someone else’s behalf
We are committed to keeping strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality. As such, if you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have his or her permission. A note which is signed by the person concerned will be needed in such cases.
We are hopeful that our Practice Based Procedures will be used for the vast majority of complaints. We feel that this will give us the best chance to respond directly and frankly, and enable us to make any changes necessary in order to improve our service.
What other options do I have?
Complaints can be directed to NHS England rather than the practice and they may undertake the complaint handling on your behalf. NHS England is obliged to notify the practice about any complaints it receives with your consent.
What happens if the complaint involves a hospital or other organisation?
Where other organisations such as hospitals are involved in the complaint, we aim to provide you with a co-ordinated response covering all aspects of your complaint. Where a complaint is solely about a third party, we may seek your consent to pass the complaint to them.
Once the investigation has been concluded a letter will be sent to you setting out how we investigated your complaint as well as details of the action taken as a result of our findings. We hope that your complaint will be resolved at this stage, but if not, we may invite you to discuss what else might be done. If you remain unhappy, we will write to advise you that we are satisfied with the way the complaint has been investigated and will provide you with the details of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to whom you will then have recourse.
Who can help with your complaint?
SEAP are an independent Advocacy Service who are available to support patients and represent your views when making a complaint. They can accompany you to meetings to discuss your complaint and provide support or interpretation.
7th Floor, Cavendish House
Tel: 0330 4409000
If you remain dissatisfied with the response from the Practice (or NHS England, where your complaint was investigated by them), then you have the right to refer your complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman. They would require a clear statement of what issues remain outstanding.
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Tel 0345 0154033
If you are left unhappy with the response, and conciliation is not appropriate, or has been unsuccessful, then you have a right to ask for an independent review of the complaint.
In such circumstances, please write to:
PO Box 16738
Ash Surgery recognises that patients who complain about care or treatment received have every right to expect a prompt, open, constructive and honest response, including an explanation and if appropriate, an apology.
We understand the importance of listening to patients and making changed when things have not gone as they (or we) would wish.
Please address any complaints to:
The Practice Manager