Practice Complaints Procedure
If you have a complaint or concern about the service you have received from the doctors or any of the staff working in this practice, please let us know. We operate a practice complaints procedure as part of a NHS system for dealing with complaints. Our complaints system meets national criteria.
How To Complain
We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and with the person concerned. If your problem cannot be sorted out in this way and you wish to make a complaint, we would like you to let us know as soon as possible - ideally, within a matter of 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
Complaints should be addressed to the Practice Manager. Alternatively, you may ask for an appointment with the Practice Manager in order to discuss your concerns. The complaints procedure will be explained to you and will ensure that your concerns are dealt with promptly. It will be a great help if you are as specific as possible about your complaint.
What We Shall Do
On receipt of the complaint, an acknowledgement will be sent out, and a complaint action sheet will be implemented. All letters are sent by recorded delivery.
If the complaint is of an administrative nature, it will be dealt with by the Practice Manager.
If clinical, in the first instance the letter will be passed to the Clinical Governance Manager. It may then be passed to the senior partner and a copy to the GP concerned asking for their comments.
A response letter will be sent within 14 calendar days for all complaints. If an investigation cannot be completed within this time frame, you will be informed.
Once the complaint has been completed, it will be discussed at the monthly clinical meeting as a significant event and any learning / training issues will be implemented.
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 their permission to do so. A note signed by the person concerned will be needed, unless they are incapable (because of illness) of providing this.
Taking Your Complaint Further for Independent Review
We hope that, if you have a problem, you will use our Practice Complaints Procedure. We believe this will give us the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and an opportunity to improve our practice.
However, if you are not satisfied with our response, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to request an independent review of the complaint.
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Customer helpline telephone number: 0345 015 4033
Address: Millbank Tower, 30 Millbank, London SW1P 4QP
You also have the right to contact the Patients Advisory and Liaison Service (PALS) if you wish for any assistance in dealing with your complaint.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS): William Harvey Hospital (Ashford)
Contact telephone number: 01227 783145
Address: Kennington Road, Willesborough, Ashford, Kent, TN24 0LZ
Contact email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Confidentiality & Medical Records
The practice complies with data protection and access to medical records legislation. Identifiable information about you will be shared with others in the following circumstances:
- To provide further medical treatment for you e.g. from district nurses and hospital services.
- To help you get other services e.g. from the social work department. This requires your consent.
- When we have a duty to others e.g. in child protection cases anonymised patient information will also be used at local and national level to help the Health Board and Government plan services e.g. for diabetic care.
If you do not wish anonymous information about you to be used in such a way, please let us know.
Reception and administration staff require access to your medical records in order to do their jobs. These members of staff are bound by the same rules of confidentiality as the medical staff.
Freedom of Information
Information about the General Practioners and the practice required for disclosure under this act can be made available to the public. All requests for such information should be made to the practice manager.
Access to Records
In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and Access to Health Records Act, patients may request to see their medical records. Such requests should be made through the practice manager and may be subject to an administration charge. No information will be released without the patient consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
The NHS operate a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and the practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other persons. Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety. In this situation we will notify the patient in writing of their removal from the list and record in the patient’s medical records the fact of the removal and the circumstances leading to it.