If you are unhappy with the treatment or service you have received from the NHS you have the right to make a complaint, have it investigated and receive a response. Care will be taken to ensure your complaint remains confidential.
- How do I make a complaint?
If your concerns have not been resolved by the ward manager, modern matron, community manager or PALS and you would like to make a complaint, they will ask us to contact you. If you would like to contact us directly, details on how to do this can be found by clicking here.
- Can I make a complaint on behalf of someone else?
A complaint can be made by someone acting on behalf of another person with their consent. A complaint can be made by anyone who is affected, or is likely to be affected, by the actions or decisions of the trust.
- Is there a time limit for making a complaint?
It is best to tell us as soon as possible after the event and within 12 months of the event happening or within 12 months of discovering you have cause to complain. Complaints received outside of these timescales may be investigated if there is a good reason why the complaint could not be made earlier and only if it is still possible to investigate what happened.
- If I make a complaint I'm worried this will affect how I'm treated if I need to use services in the future.
If you make a complaint you will not be discriminated against in any way. Any information you give will be treated in confidence and with sensitivity. Information about your complaint will always be kept separate from your medical records.
We welcome complaints because it’s how we learn where things are not going as well as we hoped they would. Telling us what you’re not happy with gives us the opportunity to put things right and spread that learning amongst the trust and sometimes other organisations.
- Will details of my complaint be recorded in my medical notes?
No. There will be no reference to any complaint in your medical notes.
- Is there anyone who can support me when making a complaint?
If you need help, independent complaints advocacy organisations can give advice and information and can support you in making your complaint, for example by helping you write a complaint letter. They provide a confidential service which is free and totally independent of the NHS. Details of these organisations can be found in the useful contacts section.
We will send you their leaflet explaining the services they provide and their contact details.
- What happens when I make a complaint?
We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days from the date it is received. We will discuss your complaint with you and agree your complaint plan, which will include:
- What has happened
- How long it will take us to investigate your complaint
- What you would like to see happen as a result of your complaint
- The way in which your complaint will be investigated
- How you would like to receive your response – this could be by letter or a meeting
- What happens next?
Your complaint will be investigated thoroughly by a senior member of staff; an investigating officer (IO). If you have provided us with your telephone number the IO will attempt to make contact with you within 48 hours of receiving your complaint to discuss your concerns. As part of their investigation they will speak to the staff involved and review your medical notes. We will ensure that those involved with the investigation will be open and honest and act fairly throughout. Your response will include how we have dealt with your complaint, the conclusions, an apology if things have gone wrong and any actions taken.
- How long does it take to deal with my complaint?
We will tell you when to expect a response, this is normally up to 35 days. However, if an extension is needed the investigating officer (IO) will contact you to explain the reason for the delay. If we are unable to contact you in person, we may write to you to let you know that your complaint response has been delayed.
- How will my complaint be responded to?
You will receive a written response or we can arrange a meeting for you with the Investigating Officer (IO). The meeting will be recorded and you will receive a copy of the audio recording on a disk and a summary letter by the date agreed with the IO.
- How will I know if things have improved as a result of my complaint?
The written response will include what lessons have been learned and how this has been shared with the staff involved. Where improvements have been made this information will be shared with you.
- What if I am not satisfied with the response to my complaint?
If you feel that there are any matters which we have missed, misunderstood or if you would like clarification on any points, you should contact us within three months from the date you received the response. We will see if there is any further action we can take to resolve your complaint and we may suggest a telephone call or a meeting between you and the investigating manager. We will make every effort to resolve all your outstanding issues.
- What if I remain unhappy with the trust’s response to my complaint?
If you are not happy with how we have dealt with your complaint and would like to take the matter further, you may decide to forward your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The Ombudsman makes final decisions on unresolved complaints about the NHS in England. It is an independent service which is free for everyone to use.
If you would like to refer your complaint to the Ombudsman please contact them by visiting www.ombudsman.org.uk/make-a-complaint or you can call them on 0345 015 4033 between 8.30am – 5.30, Monday to Friday.
- Can I claim for compensation through the complaints process?
The complaints procedure is not specifically designed to award compensation, but the trust does have the discretion to make one-off ex-gratia payments.
If your complaint raises complex clinical issues, or there is also an Inquest or there is a potential clinical negligence claim or raises regulatory issues, specialist independent advice is available from Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA). Their advice is free and they can be contacted by visiting their website at www.avma.org.uk, by Freephone on 0845 123 2352 (Monday to Friday, 10am – 3.30pm) or by writing to them at:
Action against Medical Accidents
Christopher Wren Yard
117 High Street