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Suggestions & Complaints

We constantly strive to give patients the best possible care and regularly review our services in light of patient feedback.

Complaints can be made verbally to any staff or in writing to the Practice Manager.

If you wish to complain about any aspect of the practice, you may use our contact form.

Complaints Procedure

For all written complaints we will acknowledge your complaint within 48 hours.

Your complaint will then be investigated by the management team and within 4 weeks we will try to:

  • address your concerns fully
  • provide you with an explanation
  • provide an apology if required
  • discuss any action that may be needed
  • arrange a meeting with all parties concerned and one of the Practice Partners

We hope that you will be satisfied that we have dealt with your complaint thoroughly. However, if this is not possible and you wish to continue with your complaint, we will direct you to the appropriate authorities.

Our Practice procedure is not able to deal with questions of legal liability or compensation. We hope you will use it to allow us to look into and, if necessary, put right any problems you have identified or mistakes that have been made. HELP US TO HELP YOU!

If you use this procedure it will not affect your right to complain to the NHS England if you so wish.

Please note that we have to respect our duty of confidentiality to patients and a patient’s consent will be necessary if a complaint is not made by that patient in person.

The Practice follows 6 principles when dealing with complaints:

  1. Getting it right
  2. Being open and accountable
  3. Putting things right
  4. Being customer focused
  5. Acting fairly & proportionately
  6. Seeking continuous improvements

There are four parts to the complaints procedure. Our complaints procedure is based on these four parts:

  1. The Initial Stage
  2. The Investigation
  3. The Informal Meeting/Written Explanation
  4. Follow-up and Conclusion

Our line managers ensure the complaints process is followed in a timely fashion.

The Practice Manager has overall responsibility for the complaints system.

A Complaint: The Investigation

Presuming that the practice complaints procedure is to be used, the complainant needs to be assured that the Practice will:

  1. deal with matters promptly – the aim being to complete enquiries within 14 days, with a maximum of four weeks
  2. undertake a detailed investigation
  3. offer a meeting to discuss the outcome of the investigation if appropriate
  4. advise the complainant that they may bring a ‘friend’ to the meeting
  5. inform the complainant if there appear to be any delays or problems

A Complaint: Informal Meeting / Written Explanation

If there is an informal meeting, the practice should reassure the complainant that:

  1. the matter has been taken seriously
  2. the complaint has been fully investigated
  3. they will receive a detailed explanation
  4. they will receive an appropriate apology if necessary, but will always receive a statement of regret that the incident has occurred

A Complaint: Follow-Up

The action taken is entered in our complaints log and a record of any relevant meeting/s and/or a copy of the letter sent is kept in the complaints file in case further action results.

Learning From Complaints and Patient Feedback

Complaints and patient feedback logs are regularly reviewed in the Clinical Governance and Audit meetings to:

  1. Determine whether any audits are required as a result
  2. Determine whether and process needs to be reviewed
  3. Determine how to measure the effectiveness of any changes already implemented

Sharing of Learning and Actions From Complaints

The information from the annual complaints audit and the anonymised summary of learning & action points from complaints will be shared via the next practice training session and there will be a multi-disciplinary discussion.

Help and Advice

If the complainant is not satisfied, they should be alerted to their right (under the practice complaints procedure) to take the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman which is an independent body established to promote improvements in healthcare through the assessment of the performance of those who provide services.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
Tel: Complaints Helpline - 0345 015 4033

Contact the Ombudsman online

A conciliation service, Independent Complaints advocacy Service (ICAS)– in Somerset this is SEAP (support, empower, advocate, promote service) which is available to support the patient and represent their views when making a complaint.  They can accompany the patient to meetings to discuss their complaints and provide support or an interpreter.

Ground Floor
7 Vale Avenue
Tunbridge Wells
TN11 1DJ

Tel: 0845 600 8616

You may wish to contact the NHS England on 0300 311 2233 or contact NHS England online.

If a complainant remains dissatisfied by the response to their concerns NHS Somerset offers mediation for formal complaints.  The patient advice and liaison service (PALS) may be able to help resolve the matter promptly.