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Your Wellbeing Is Our Business

Introduction
The receipt of a complaint by a general practitioner from a patient is a distressing experience for both parties. We will endeavour to deal with patients' complaints in a positive and constructive way, avoiding wherever possible the need for patients to direct complaints to The Independent Doctors' Federaion (IDF).

Investigating partner
Dr Bobby Ahmed to be designated to be responsible for the management of all complaints whether management or clinical . This appointment should be for a fixed period of two years. The Practice Manager should be designated if the complaint is against that partner.

Receiving a complaint
The practice manager will be appointed as complaints manager. He will be informed immediately a complaint is received by any member of the practice. If the complaints manager is absent the complaint should be referred direct to the Investigating Partner.

If a complaint is received verbally the complainant will be received with courtesy by the Complaints Manager and an initial assessment made in private. If it appears that there is a genuine grievance the complainant should be assured that the matter will be taken seriously, that it will receive immediate attention and that confidentiality will be observed. The complaint whether verbal or written, will be acknowledged in writing within two working days.

Where appropriate, regret can be expressed for the circumstances which have caused the person to complain and for any distress caused. Bearing in mind an apology is not an admission of liability. Some complaints may be resolved at this stage without recourse to a more detailed in-house procedure. If it is apparent that a more detailed approach is required the complainant will be as asked to state their complaint in writing if they have not already done so. If the patient involved is not the complainer, proper consent must be obtained and recorded.

Exploration of the complaint

The Complaints Manager will inform the Investigating Partner as soon as possible about the complaint. The Investigating Partner then determines whether the complaint is organisational or clinical. If the complaint is organisational it will be dealt with at this stage by the Practice Manager, Mr Saleem Azam.

If it is clinical the Investigating Partner will deal with it.

All complaints should be recorded in a practice complaints register.

When the complaint is of an organisational nature, the Practice Manager will undertake a preliminary investigation by speaking directly to the complainant with a face to face meeting. An apology and assurance that action will be taken may resolve the complaint at this stage. If not, the Complaints manager will do two things:

a) As soon as practicable, the Practice Manager should talk the case through with the member of the practice against whom the complaint has been made to establish their recollection of events. If the complaint is about a practice procedure rather than an individual, the Practice manager is in a position to deal with it is as appropriate.

b) The complainant should be invited to attend the surgery to discuss the matter further.

We will write to the complainent to acknowledge receipt of a written complaint within two working days. We will offer to discuss the complaint at a meeting within 21 days of receipt of the complaint.

If as a result of b) discussions take place with the complainant at the practice he/she should be invited to bring a friend or relative to the meeting. If appropriate the staff member complained against may be present at that meeting although this should be with the prior knowledge and agreement of the complainant. The Practice Manager will normally be accompanied by another senior member of the practice.

Notes will be kept of the meeting.

With a clinical complaint, the Investigating Partner should undertake a preliminary investigation by speaking directly to the complainant. This action is to establish the seriousness of the complaint and to obtain further details. Once again a telephone conversation followed by an apology may end the matter.

If not the Investigating Partner should do two things:
a) As soon as it is practicable the Investigating Partner should talk the case through with the member of the practice against whom the complaint has been made to establish his/her recollection of events and the records examined.

b) The complainant should be invited to attend the surgery to discuss the matter further.

If discussion takes place with the patient at the practice, he/she should be invited to bring a friend or relative to the meeting. If appropriate, the complained against partner or clinical staff member should be present at that meeting although this should be with the prior knowledge and agreement of the complainant. The Investigating Partner should be accompanied by the Complaints Manager, who should keep notes of the interview.

The outcome of the complaint
The aims of the informal complaints system are to:
a) resolve complaints quickly to the satisfaction of all involved
b) avoid unnecessary progress to a formal hearing
c) review and improve general practice services

Any outcomes must be recorded and a statement sent to the complainant within four weeks of initially registering the complaint.

Conclusion
The following must be satisfied:

The complainant must be satisfied that he/she has received an apology and an assurance that the complaint has been recorded and will receive attention.

The results must be reported to the partnership together with any suggestions for preventing such a situation arising again.

If the complainant remains unsatisfied and he/she makes it clear they wish to take the matter further.

They should be advised to lodge a formal complaint with the Independent Doctors' Federation (IDF).

Should this be the case the Investigating Partner will contact the appropriate Medical Defence Society

Other considerations

The patient will be given a copy of the practice complaints procedure on request.

A notice at the reception desk will inform patients of this.

The practice will undertake annual audits of patient's complaints to enable feedback to develop guidelines and procedures to reduce the incidence of complaints in keeping with Good Medical Practice.

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