How to Complain
This is often the bit we all really don’t like doing. It is always sad when things don’t turn out the way we want them to. Either the care we received or didn’t! Or the operation didn’t go as planned or wasn’t a success. Or the way we were treated, maybe our privacy not respected.
What to do first:
There are lots of ways to complain and it is probably best if you could do it straight away. If you are able to, talk the incident through with the named nurse or key worker. You are likely to be more successful if you come across as reasonable but firm; try to remain calm, acknowledge good treatment that you or your relative has received and recognise that everyone is busy and that misunderstandings happen. However, you need to be reassured that the situation/ incident will not re-occur.
If it is not possible to sort the problem at the time of the incident, keep brief notes. It is easy to forget details. These notes should include:
- What incident occurred and when, including date and time
- Who you spoke to and what their response was
- Try to make the complaint specific - for example, you came in on three occasions and you noticed that medicine had been left in front of the patient untaken
If your problem is not resolved talk to the ward manager or the senior nurse/matron, if still unresolved make an appointment to see the chief executive.
For a variety of reasons people don’t feel that they can complain at the time, and sometimes as time goes by the resentment at the way you have been treated festers.
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Complaints are time limited:
You should take note that there is a time limit for a complaint to be made and that is six months from the date the incident occurred, or from the date you first were aware of the problem.
NHS complaint procedure
There are three stages to making a complaint in the NHS and most private hospitals follow a similar procedure
- Local resolution- In every case the first stage is to make a complaint against the practitioner. Large health centres and hospitals have staff who deal with these situations. Smaller surgeries may not have someone specifically designated to, but their will be a practice manager who will be able to look into it for you.
In Hospital The Patient Advice and Liaison Service is available PALS who will not be able to take up the complaint formally but will be able to help you with advice and perhaps help in an informal manner with the complaint.
- Independent review - This is the second stage whereby your complaint hasn’t been satisfactorily resolved at the first stage.
a. In England independent reviews are carried out by the Healthcare Commission. Helpline : 0845 601 3012
b. In Northern Ireland independent reviews are carried out by Health Boards
Eastern Health and Social Services Board
12-22 Linenhall Street
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org FOI@ehssb.n-i.nhs.uk
Northern Health Board
Patient info service 0845 7626428
Tel No: 028 25311000
Fax: 028 25311100
Southern Health Board
Southern Health & Social Services Board
Tel no: (028) 3741 0041
Fax: (028) 3741 4550
Textphone (028) 3741 4530
Email : email@example.com
Western Health & Social Services Board
15 Gransha Park
General Switchboard: (028) 7186 0086
Fax: (028) 7186 0311
At the independent review a variety of course of action can be taken:
The complaint can be returned to the hospital/Trust for further investigation if a local resolution could still be possible.
An independent panel will be set up to look into the complaint further
c. No further action will be taken if it perceived that all actions possible have been taken
- If you get to the stage where no further action will be taken or if you are unhappy with the outcome you can refer the matter to the Independent Health Service Ombudsman:
Independent Health Service Ombudsman
London, SW1P 4QP
Tel: 0345 015 4033
Click here for information about using the Ombudsman; How to use an ombudsman
- Or alternatively seek a Judicial Review – this means that you wish to challenge the final decision. This is a court of law which reviews the decisions which have been made by public bodies
To find out more about Judicial reviews and if this is the course of action for you to take click here www.publiclawproject.org.uk/simpleguide.html
Taking Legal action
If you choose to take legal action against your GP, or against an individual in the NHS or Private Healthcare sector you will need to consult a solicitor.
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Personal Injury Legal Advice
"FREE CONSULTATION - NO WIN NO FEE AVAILABLE"
Carmine Procaccini is a colleague in the team of Landau Zeffertt Weir, Solicitors in London and is offering "Hospital Help" users a Free and swift initial consultation
You may contact Carmine with your enquiry via our enquiry form by clicking here
The Department of Health itself does not investigate individual complaints – these must be pursued through the NHS complaints procedure.
Each private hospital will have a formal complaints procedure for you to follow along similar lines. If you are dissatisfied with the results of either the NHS or Private Hospital complaints procedure, you will be able to ask for a review from Healthcare commission:-
Healthcare commission (England)
FREEPOST NAT 18958
Complaints Investigation Team
Manchester, M1 9XZ
Tel: 0845 601 3012
Care Commission (Scotland)
11 Riverside Drive
Tel: 01382 207200
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ICAS is the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service which was set up in September 2003. It was designed to support people who wanted to pursue a complaint against the NHS either regarding treatment or care.
They provide support and advice and have local advocates who can help you
Click here for more information www.carersfederation.co.uk
You can contact them via Hospitals, at your Health center, NHS Direct, PALS
Or their local offices:-
0845 120 3784
0845 120 3782
0845 600 8616
Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire
0845 456 1082
Cambridge, Norfolk & Suffolk
0845 456 1084
0845 456 1083
0845 120 3748
Yorkshire and Humberside
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