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 complaint
If you have any complaints or concerns about the service that you have received from the doctors or staff working for Axminster Medical Practice, please let us know.
We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and with the person concerned. 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 from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint comes to your notice
Miss Sharon Giles will be pleased to deal with any complaint. She will explain the procedure to you and make sure that your concerns are dealt with promptly. Sharon can be contacted via this form:
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.
Most complaints are best resolved within the practice and these should be made via the Practice Manager.
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
- Our complaints procedure is designed to make sure that we settle any complaint as quickly as possible
- We shall acknowledge your complaint immediately (or within 24 hours)
- We will have a discussion with you about how to resolve your complaint or concern
- We believe that swift resolutions have a positive outcome for you and avoids bureaucracy
- If your wish to pursue a formal complaint an acknowledgement will be sent to you or your representative within 3 days and it will let you know how we will be investigating the complaint. This acknowledgement may be by telephone or in writing.
We will commence a complaints log
A meeting will be offered to discuss the complaint as it is important for you to understand what the outcome of the complaint may be and how it will be handled. It may include a include a further meeting with those involved if appropriate and you would like this
- You will be advised of timescales and kept informed
- The Clinical Lead for Complaints is Dr Barry Mckenna
- The Investigating Manager is Miss Sharon Giles
- If your complaint has been sent to the wrong organisation, you will be contacted and advised for it to be sent on
- We will find out what happened and what went wrong
- Provide you with a clear statement of issues, investigations and findings
- Offer an apology where appropriate
- Identify what we can do to make sure it does not happen again
- At the end of the investigation your complaint will be discussed with you in detail, in person or in writing.
Complaining on behalf of someone else
Please note that we keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have his or her permission to do so. A note signed by the person concerned will be needed, unless he or she is incapable (because of illness) of providing this.
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
Devon CCG Patient Advice and Complaints
The patient advice and complaints team provides confidential help, advice and support for anyone who has concerns or comments about CCG services in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay.
We liaise with services to find out where the problem lies and work to resolve it. We address issues with hospitals and community, out-of-hours or emergency services where you prefer not to raise the issue yourself.
The team can also look at problems with service provision, such as gaps in services, individual funding cases, referral processes, proposals for service change, accessing services, delays and lack of capacity.
Most issues are dealt with informally however, sometimes, it may be appropriate to make a formal complaint. We can discuss this with you and advise on your options.
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.
Give feedback or make a complaint
You can complain to a member of staff at the NHS service you went to, such as a GP surgery or hospital, or you can complain to the organisation in charge.