Please note our practices will be closed on the following bank holidays; Monday 25th December, Tuesday 26th December and Monday 1st January.

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Complaints and Compliments Procedure

Introduction

Suffolk Primary Care aim to provide the highest level of care to all our patients, and is keen to understand patient’s experiences of the services we deliver.  We will always be willing to hear if there is any way that you think that we can improve the service we provide, so we can use this as learning to improve any identified service failures. Patient feedback also helps us to identify what we are doing well and assists us in implementing further improvements, providing an overall benefit to all our patients. 

This policy is aimed at anyone who is dissatisfied with any services delivered by Suffolk Primary Care, and is considering contacting us seeking a viable solution. Also, for anyone wishing to share positive feedback following actions taken by any member of staff working for Suffolk Primary Care who have made a valuable difference to them, a member of their family, a friend or a member of their community. 

Making A Complaint

When considering complaints about us we always aim to be:

  • Impartial to clinical and operational services
  • Helpful and accessible
  • Clear, timely and thorough, and
  • Positive about putting matters right and learning lessons for the future

If you have any complaints or concerns about the service that you have received from any staff member working for Suffolk Primary Care, please let your practice know.

We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, at the time they arise and with the person concerned and not later than the next working day.

If your problem cannot be sorted out in this way and you wish to make a complaint, we would like you to let us know as soon as possible – ideally within a matter of days or at most a few weeks – because this will enable us to establish what happened more easily.  If it is not possible to do that, please let us have details of your complaint:

  • Within 12 months of the incident that caused the problem; or
  • Within 12 months of discovering that you have a problem.

Discretion can be used if you have good reason for a delay in complaining and if it is still possible to investigate the complaint fairly and effectively.

The Practice Operations Manager at your practice will be pleased to deal with any complaint.  He or she will explain the procedure to you, if needed, and make sure that your concerns are dealt with promptly.  You can make your complaint:

  • In person or by telephone – ask to speak to the Practice Operations Manager.
  • In writing / email to the practice  – some complaints may be easier to explain in writing – please give as much information as you can, then send your complaint to the practice for the attention of the Practice Operations Manager as soon as possible.
  • Email to – spc.complaints@nhs.net

Please note that details of any complaint logged will not be added to your clinical notes and will not affect your future medical care. 

What We Will Do

Our complaints procedure is designed to make sure that we settle any complaints as quickly as possible.

We shall acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days of receipt, and aim to provide a full response within 28 working days thereafter.

When we look into your complaint, we shall aim to:

  • Find out what happened and what went wrong
  • Make it possible for you to discuss the problem with those concerned if you would like this
  • Make sure you receive an apology where appropriate
  • Identify what we can do to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again

At the end of the investigation, you will receive a full written reply and/or be invited in to discuss our findings if the complaint is complex.

Consent And Complaining On Behalf Of Someone Else

Any individual that uses services delivered by Suffolk Primary Care can make a complaint if they are dissatisfied with a service.  However, please note that we keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality.  Therefore, if you are making a complaint on behalf of someone else we will need their informed consent for you to act on their behalf. If someone lacks capacity to provide such consent we would need to be satisfied that you are acting in their best interests. If the complaint investigator is not satisfied that this is the case, we will inform you in writing, stating the reasons for this decision and any response we may be able to provide will be limited in its content.

Grievance raised by former employee or partner

If a former employee or partner of Suffolk Primary Care wishes to raise a grievance about an issue related to their previous employment or tenure at Suffolk Primary Care, it will be treated as a complaint as outlined within this policy. Any such complaints should be raised via the complaints inbox spc.complaints@nhs.net as soon as possible after leaving, but within 3 months of the last incident, outlining the complaint and concerns wishing to be addressed.

Compliments

A compliment is an expression of satisfaction, thanks, praise or congratulations.

All staff who work for Suffolk Primary Care strive to provide a high quality level of care for everyone, and we would really welcome your compliments and feedback.

Compliments tell us what we are doing right and are great way that we can learn, and continuously improve our services to you as individuals, and all of our patients.

If you wish to pass on a compliment, we will:

  • Record and share with the relevant key people.
  • Use learning from compliments to identify what we are doing well.

If you would like to share a compliments about the service you have received, an individual or the practice as a whole, you can do this:

  • In person or by telephone – ask to speak to the Practice Operations Manager.
  • In writing / email to the practice – marked for the attention of the Practice Operations Manager. 
  • Email to – spc.complaints@nhs.net
Complaints – What You Can Do Next

We hope that, if you have a problem, you will use our practice complaints procedure.  We believe that this will give us the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and the opportunity to improve our services.

However, this does not affect your right to approach the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (SNEEICB) directly if you feel you cannot raise your complaint with us or you are dissatisfied with the way we are dealing with your complaint.  If you choose to complain directly to SNEEICB, contacts can be received via email, telephone and postal communications channels, which are accessible as follows:

  • Email: sneeicb.complaints@nhs.net
  • Telephone: Freephone: 0800 389 6819 (between 9:00am – 3:45pm Monday – Friday, excluding bank holidays)
  • Address: Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), Endeavour House, Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX

Further information regarding SNEEICB Complaints Service can be found here: Patient Advice and Liaison Service – NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB

If you remain dissatisfied with the responses to your complaint, you have the right to ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review your case.  The Ombudsman is an independent body established to promote improvements in healthcare through the assessment of the performance of those who provide service.  You can write to them at:

The Health Service Ombudsman

Millbank Tower

Millbank

LONDON

SW1P 4QP

Telephone: 03450 154033

Unreasonable Complaints

Some complainants place unreasonable demands on our services by submitting multiple, lengthy requests or frequent repetitive contacts. These contacts dominate our attention and hinder the consideration of other people’s complaints and the services we are providing.

In most instances when we consider someone’s behaviour to be unreasonable, we will explain why and ask them to change it. We will also advise them, that if their unreasonable behaviour continues, we may take action to restrict their contact with us, and some or all of the following formal provisions will be apply and be communicated to the complainant:

  • The complaint will be managed by one named individual at senior level who will be the only contact for the patient.
  • Contact will be limited to one method only (eg in writing).
  • A time limit will be placed on each contact.
  • The number of contacts in a time period will be restricted.
  • A witness will be present for all contacts.
  • Repeated complaints about the same issue will be refused.
  • Correspondence regarding a closed matter will only be acknowledged and not responded to.
  • Behaviour standards will be set.
  • Irrelevant documentation will be returned.
  • Detailed records will be kept.