Listening to and acting on what people say about our practice
How we can help – If you have a comment, compliment, complaint or concern about the services you have received from any of the staff working in this practice, please let us know. We operate a practice based complaints procedure as part of the NHS procedure for dealing with complaints. We take comments, complaints and concerns very seriously and will endeavour to deal with any issues efficiently and effectively.
How to complain – We operate a practice complaints procedure as part of an NHS system for dealing with complaints.
Please ask to see a Manager, or the person responsible for complaints, in order to discuss your concerns. She will explain the complaints procedure to you and will make sure that your concerns are dealt with confidentially, promptly and thoroughly. It will be of great help if you are as specific as possible about your complaint. Alternatively, you can write to the Practice Manager with details of your complaint.
- your complaint will be formally acknowledged within 3 working days;
- your complaint will be thoroughly investigated within 10 working days; we shall then be in a position to offer you an explanation, or a meeting to discuss it.
This is known as Local Resolution.
The aim of the complaints process
– find out what happened and what went wrong;
- make it possible for you to discuss the problems with those concerned, if you wish to do this;
- make sure you receive an apology, where this is appropriate;
- try to make sure that the problem does not occur again.
Lay Conciliation – As part of the Local Resolution process the Primary Care Trust has Lay Conciliators to help resolve complaints when it has not been possible to reach agreement on outstanding issues. Lay Conciliators are independent of the practice and the primary care trust and all parties must agree to participate in conciliation. A leaflet explaining the role of Lay Conciliators is available from the practice reception.
Complaining on behalf of someone else – 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 their permission to do so.
Time limits – There are time limits on making a complaint but normally a complaint should be made within six months of the event or within six months of the date of discovering the problem. You can ask for a complaint to be considered after this time limit if you explain why you did not complain earlier.
What if you remain unhappy following local resolution? – If following the local resolution process you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, you have the right to refer your complaint to the Healthcare Commission. The Healthcare Commission will consider the complaint and notify you as to what action it proposes to take. As from the 1st September 2006 you have six months from the date of the final response from the Practice to take your complaint to the Healthcare Commission.
If you need help to make your complaint – If you need any help the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) will be glad to advise and support you. ICAS is an independent body which represents the views of users of the health service. They are able to give advice, information and support to complainants throughout these procedures.
Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) – If you do not wish to complain, but just want help and advice or have concerns, you can contact PALS to discuss any queries about the NHS. PALS provide support to patients, carers and relatives, representing their views and resolving local difficulties on-the-spot by working in partnership with NHS staff. The service aims to:
- Advise and support patients, their families and carers,
- Provide information on NHS services,
- Listen to your concerns, suggestions and queries,
- Help sort out problems quickly on your behalf.
You can contact PALS on freephone: 0800 032 0202
Who to contact
Dr Nick Lawson, Partner and Complaints Co-ordinator
Bridge Medical, Shiremoor Resource Centre, Earsdon Road, Shiremoor, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE27 0HJ
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)
Tel: 0345 0154033 e-mail – www.ombudsman.org.uk
Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS)
Tel: 0808 8023000
Leaflets can be printed out in large print if required.