Complaints Procedure

Practice Complaints Procedure


This procedure sets out the Practice’s approach to the handling of complaints and is intended as an internal guide which should be made readily available to all staff.

The Practice will take reasonable steps to ensure that patients are aware of:

  • the complaints procedure
  • the role of other bodies in relation to complaints about services under the contract
  • their right to assistance with any complaint from independent advocacy services

The Practice will take reasonable steps to ensure that the complaints procedure is accessible to all patients

Where patients do not wish to complaint through the practice or the complaint relates to services not provided by the practice then they will be provided with details of the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) 0800 4561517.


The Practice may receive a complaint made by a patient, or former patient, who is receiving or has received treatment at the Practice

If the patient is unable to make the complaint for any reason then the practice will deal with complaints made by a third party provided that the consent of the patient has been given in writing.

If the patient is a child then:

  • by either parent, or in the absence of both parents, the guardian or other adult who has care of the child
  • by a person duly authorised by a local authority to whose care the child has been committed under the provisions of the Children Act 1989
  •  by a person duly authorised by a voluntary organisation by which the child is being accommodated

Period within which complaints can be made

The period for making a complaint is:

  • 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint occurred


  • 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint comes to the complainant’s notice

The GPs have the discretion to extend the time limits if the complainant has suffered particular distress that prevented them from acting sooner.

Complaints handling

Adele Zuzarte is responsible for the operation of the complaints procedure and the investigation of complaints.

The Partners are responsible for the effective management of the complaints procedure and for ensuring that action is taken in the light of the outcome of any investigation

Action upon receipt of a complaint

Complaints may be received verbally and will be responded to in the same manner or by letter if deemed appropriate by the Complaints Manager

Complaints may be received in writing and must be given to the Complaints Manager or to the Practice Manager in the absence of the Complaints Manager.

All written complaints will be acknowledged in writing within two working days beginning with the day on which the complaint was received or, where that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable.

The Complaints Manager will advise the complainant of the next steps and timescale of the investigation.  The Complaints Manager will ensure the complaint is properly investigated.

Where the complaint relates to an administration matter the Complaints Manager will be responsible for providing a response within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint.  If, for any reason, this timescale cannot be met the Complaints Manager will write to the complainant giving reasons for the delay.

Where the complaint relates to the actions of one or more clinicians the complaint will be passed to the relevant clinician(s) and they will be requested to provide information for the response as soon as possible.  If the Clinician requires the advice of the MDU then the Complaints Manager will be responsible for liaising with the MDU after the initial contact.  The Complaints Manager will write to the complainant explaining the delay.

Final Response

This will include:

  • A clear statement of the issues, investigations and the findings, giving clear evidence-based reasons for decisions if appropriate
  • Where errors have occurred, explain these fully and state what will be done to put these right, or prevent repetition
  • A focus on fair and proportionate the outcomes for the patient, including any remedial action or compensation
  • A clear statement that the response is the final one, or that further action or reports will be send later
  • An apology or explanation as appropriate
  • A statement of the right to escalate the complaint, together with the relevant contact details

Review of complaints

The Practice has quarterly complaints review meetings.  All complaints received by the practice in the preceding 12 months will be dealt with at this meeting.

The clinicians may, if they choose, hold ad hoc informal meetings to discuss any clinical issues that have arisen from a complaint.


All complaints must be treated in the strictest confidence

The practice must keep a record of all complaints and copies of all correspondence relating to complaints, but such records must be kept separate from patients’ medical records.