Complaints Procedure

We actively encourage patient feedback and involvement through patient satisfaction surveys and a comments and suggestions box in the reception. [As an NHS practice we carry out the Friends and Family Test]. The results of audits and surveys, comments and suggestions and the outcomes of patient complaints are discussed and analysed at practice meetings and at management reviews, which is part of our quality assurance programme and team training. Each year we review our standards for the coming year to improve them, taking account of comments made.

We will abide by a complaints policy and audit, following KO41(b) general practice written complaints 2014 from the HSCIC

We have a clearly defined and accessible procedure for complaints & raising concerns, Graham Murphy is the complaints lead for practice acting with candour at all times.

How to make a complaint

Complaints can be made:

  • In person, to the principal dentist Graham Murphy or the practice manager Denise Allan.
  • In writing – please address this to either Graham or Denise as above

If your complaint regards our provision of NHS services you can direct this via NHS direct website or via contacting NHS England or alternatively the Patient Advice and Liaison service known as PALs.

How we will handle your complaint

Our   complaints procedure is designed so that we resolve the issue as promptly as possible, we will aim to solve the issue or consult with you as to how to proceed, we will also agree a timescale with you for investigation and resolution and set out how the complaint will be investigated, the evidence considered, and appropriate action taken.

When we look into your complaint we will aim to:

  • Find out what happened / went wrong.
  • Enable you to discuss the issue with every team member concerned.
  • Make sure you receive an apology where appropriate.
  • Identify and audit what we can do to ensure the problem doesn’t reoccur and that we grow evolve and continually improve our service / practice.

We have a defined complaints procedure aiming for swift local resolution. Where possible, we will respond to all complaints within defined timescales.

Complaints made by phone / verbally will receive a same day response, with formal acknowledgement within 3 working days, we will respond to complaints in no later than 10 working days. Complaints in writing will be acknowledged on the day in person or as promptly as possible verbally, then followed up in writing within 3 working days, except for exceptional circumstances / or only if agreed differently with the patient or on the advice of a defence organisation.

Regarding active complaints, we aim to give regular updates to patients no greater than 10 working days apart. We aim to resolve complaints within a 3 week timescale, with the patient to be updated throughout.

Each stage of the complaints procedure will be communicated to patient.  Details of all complaints will be recorded and any response from the practice in a confidential complaints folder, as well as entries made as appropriate in patients notes. We will record all phone contacts or attempted contacts & retain copies of all letters sent or received.

If a patient remains dissatisfied or unwilling to participate, and local resolution fails, we will refer the patient (as appropriate to the situation and the patient’s needs) the patient will be informed as to whom they can then consult (see below).

A complaint must normally be made within 12 months. The 12 months is measured from the date on which the matter that is the subject of the complaint occurred; or occasionally from the later date on which the matter come to the attention of the complainant.

Any verbal complaint resolved to the patient’s satisfaction within 24 hours does not have to go through the complaints procedure. However, even though the complaint has been resolved a record should be kept of the complaint and outcome. If a verbal complaint is not resolved within one working day, it must be recorded in writing. A copy of the record must be forwarded to the complainant.

We will

  1. Investigate and discuss as relevant with the key members involved the details of the complaint and ideally agree a solution to resolve the problem promptly.
  2. Gather any necessary information e.g. notes, radiographs, study models and clinical photos.
  3. Interview any members of staff involved and ask them for their recollections of the situation.
  4. Consider a ‘resolution meeting’ with the complainant and relevant member of staff and a third person present to take notes.  Invite the patient / complainant to attend with a friend or family member.
  5. Compile a report / response to be sent to the complainant by recorded delivery when the investigation is complete detailing how the complaint was considered and conclusion reached

Resolving the matter

A complaint must be investigated and ideally resolved quickly and efficiently, this will be done by Graham Murphy the Complaints Manager for this practice. However, all staff involved must record the initial details of the complaint, which will be passed to Graham to follow up. This will most likely be over the telephone or in surgery if Graham is not available advise the patient that there will be a delay.

The complainant must be kept informed, as far as reasonably practicable, of the progression of the investigation. This can be verbally, in writing or by email.

When local resolution fails we will then refer the matter as appropriate to

  • CQC Healthcare Team
  • Local Health Watch
  • NHS England
  • Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
  • NHS Choices
  • NHS complaints service
  • PALs
  • Denplan Consultation and Complaints   / Mediation   Service
  • GDC
  • Citizens Advice
  • Dental Complaints Service