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 have your complaint investigated, you need to complain within 12 months of the event happening, or as soon as you first become aware of the issue you want to complain about.
The time limit can be extended in special circumstances.
How to make a compliment or complaint
Whether you are happy or unhappy with the care and treatment that you have received, please get in touch and let us know your views.
Receiving compliments and complaints is important to ensuring good quality local healthcare in our Practice – helping us to find out more about what we’re getting right and what we can improve.
We hope this will help you to make your feelings and experiences known to the appropriate people. Should you have a complaint we hope this page will give you more information about what to do, who to contact and what happens next.
How do I raise a concern / informal complaint?
You can speak to any member of staff initially with your complaint. This gives you the opportunity to resolve any concern you may have without it going through a formal process. It is best to tell a member of staff about any concerns or problems as soon as they arise and we will try and sort them out.
Most complaints are best resolved within the practice.
If you wish to make a complaint, please let us have details of your complaint as soon as possible so we can find out what happened. It helps us if you can give us as full details as possible. You may complete our online form:
You can also ask for an appointment with Ann Cochrane (Patient Access Manager) or Ed Hillan (Practice Manager) in order to discuss your concerns. Our staff will explain the complaints procedure to you and make sure that your concerns are dealt with promptly.
What we will do
We will contact you about your complaint within three working days and offer to discuss with you the best way to investigate it, including the time scales for a reply. We will aim to offer you an explanation within that time frame. Or a meeting with the people involved.
- Find out what happened and what went wrong
- Invite you to discuss the problem with those involved, if you would like this
- Apologise where this is appropriate
- Identify what we can do to make sure that the problem does not happen again.
If you feel you do not want to contact the surgery directly, then you can contact the NHS Complaints team on:
PO Box 16738
If you are making a complaint please state: ‘For the attention of the complaints team’ in the subject line.
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 can 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.
The 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.
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 no more that 20 working days unless there is clearly a good reason for needing more time to respond.
Complain to the Ombudsman
If, after receiving our final decision, you remain dissatisfied you may take your complaint to the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman is independent of the NHS and free to use. It can help resolve your complaint, and tell the NHS how to put things right if it has got them wrong.
The Ombudsman only has legal powers to investigate certain complaints. You must have received a final response from the Practice before the Ombudsman can look at your complaint and it will generally not look into your complaint if it happened more than 12 months ago, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman
London SW1P 4QP
Phone: 0345 015 4033
Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS)
If you have concerns about or wish to make a complaint about the quality of care you receive from the NHS, or any other issues or experiences when using the NHS, ICAS can help. People using the health service usually feel they can raise such concerns with a member of staff, such as a Therapist, Doctor, Nurse or Receptionist and the NHS expects that the person you approach will do their best to help you. However, if you are not satisfied by their response or prefer to talk to someone who is not directly involved in your healthcare, ICAS is there to help.
ICAS provide a service which aims to improve your satisfaction and reduce any confusion or anxiety you may have and ICAS staff will act as quickly, and creatively, as possible to support patients, their carers and families to deal with concerns before they become more serious.
Complaints resolution staff at your Practice should give you further information about making a complaint and assist you in contacting ICAS, should you require help with your complaint from outside the NHS.
Please refer to the ICAS website for more information.
You can contact Healthwatch Lewisham, 2nd Floor, Old Town Hall, Rushey Green, London SE6 4RU. They offer support, information and assistance to patients, relatives and visitors, and can provide an NHS Advocacy Service for Lewisham residents.
Tel: 020 8690 5012
Website: Healthwatch Lewisham
The NHS Complaints Advocacy [email protected] on 020 8690 5012 can provide free impartial support when you are making a complaint. They can help to draft or write a letter, can arrange interpreting or can accompany you to a meeting.
Website: Healthwatch Lewisham
Lewisham Citizens Advice Bureau may also be able to help on: 0800 231 54 53
- We want you to let us know if you are unhappy or have a suggestion about how we can do things better
- All complaints are treated in the strictest confidence
- Making a complaint will not affect your treatment or care
All complaints will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of the patient’s medical records, we will inform the patient or person acting on his/her behalf if the investigation will involve disclosure of information contained in those records to a person other than the Practice or an employee of the Practice.
We keep a record of all complaints and copies of all correspondence relating to complaints, but such records will be kept separate from patients’ medical records.
Statistics and reporting
The Practice must submit to the local primary care organisation periodically/at agreed intervals details of the number of complaints received and actioned.
Compliments and Suggestions
We welcome your comments on things we are doing well within the practice and also welcome your suggestions on things we can improve. If you would like to make a suggestion or provide us with any feedback. Please contact us, using our online send a message form, or if you prefer write to the Practice.
Your feedback is extremely important to us as it helps us to see what we are doing well at and areas for improvement. You do not need to give your name or contact details if you do not wish to.