We make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our Practice.
However, we are aware that things can go wrong, resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is so, we would like the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.
To pursue a complaint please contact the Practice Manager who will deal with your concerns appropriately. Further written information regarding our Complaints Procedure is available from Reception.
If you have a complaint to make, you can either contact the Practice Manager or ask the Receptionist for a copy of our Complaints Procedure. We will endeavour to:
- acknowledge any letter or Complaints Form within 3 working days of receiving it.
- deal with the matter as promptly as possible – usually within 20 working days – dependent on the nature of the complaint.
Who can complain
- Complainants may be current or former patients, or their nominated or elected representatives (who have been given consent to act on the patients behalf).
- Patients over the age of 16 whose mental capacity is unimpaired should normally complain themselves, or authorise someone to bring a complaint on their behalf.
- Children under the age of 16 may also make their own complaint, if they’re able to do so.
If a patient lacks capacity to make decisions, their representative must be able to demonstrate sufficient interest in the patient’s welfare and be an appropriate person to act on their behalf. This could be a partner, relative or someone appointed under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 with lasting power of attorney.
In certain circumstances, we need to check that a representative is the appropriate person to make a complaint.
- For example, if the complaint involves a child, we must satisfy ourselves that there are reasonable grounds for the representative to complain, rather than the child concerned.
- If the patient is a child or a patient who lacks capacity, we must also be satisfied that the representative is acting in the patient’s best interests.
If we are not satisfied that the representative is an appropriate person we will not consider the complaint, and will give the representative the reasons for our decision in writing.
A complaint must be made within 12 months, either from the date of the incident or from when the complainant first knew about it.
Regulations state that a responsible body should only consider a complaint after this time limit if:
- the complainant has good reason for doing so, and
- it’s still possible to investigate the complaint fairly and effectively, despite the delay.
Complaining on behalf of someone else
We keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality. If you are not the patient, but are complaining on their behalf, you must have their permission to do so. A Letter of Authority signed by the person concerned will be required, unless they are incapable (because of illness or infirmity) of providing this. A Third Party Consent Form must then be completed; this can be requested from Reception. Once this Form is completed we can then procced with the complaint.
We have a two stage complaints procedure. We will always try to deal with your complaint quickly however if it is clear that the matter will need a detailed investigation, we will notify you and then keep you updated on our progress.
Stage One – early, local resolution
We will try to resolve your complaint within five working days if possible. If you are dissatisfied with our response, you can ask us to escalate your complaint to Stage Two.
Stage Two – Investigation
We will look at your complaint at this stage if you are dissatisfied with our response at Stage One.
We also escalate some complaints straight to this stage, if it is clear that they are complex or need detailed investigation.
We will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days, and we will give you our decision as soon as possible. This will be within 20 working days unless there is clearly a good reason for needing more time to respond.
We hope that, if you have a problem, you will make use of our practice complaints procedure as we believe this will provide the best opportunity of putting right whatever has gone wrong. This however, does not affect your right to approach your Health and Social Services Board, if you feel you cannot raise your complaint with us or are dissatisfied with the result of our investigation. You may contact the Board’s Complaints Officer or the Ombudsman:
Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman
Progressive House33 Wellington Place
Belfast, BT1 6HN
Opening Hours: 9.00am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Public Holidays)
- Telephone: 02890 233821
- Text Phone: 02890 897789
- Freephone: 0800 34 34 24
- Email: [email protected]
- Freepost: Freepost NIPSO
The Patient and Client Council
Should you feel you have not received a satisfactory response to your complaint, you should contact the Patient and Client Council on 0800 917 0222 or email [email protected].
If your complaint is regarding a service(s) received from your Trust, you should contact them first. Some of the Trust Services are hospitals, district nursing, mental health services, occupational therapy, maternity services and residential homes.