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Complaints Procedure

Complaints Procedure

Our aim is to provide the highest level of care for all our patients.  We will always be willing to hear if there is any way that you think that we can improve the service we provide.

Making a complaint

If you have any complaints or concerns about the service that you have received from the doctors or any of the staff working for this 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.

Our Practice Manager Tracey Wilkinson 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.

You can make your complaint:

  • In Person - ask to speak to the Assistant Practice Manager Karen Stokoe.

  • In Writing - some complaints may be easier to explain in writing - please give as much information as you can , dates, timelines and  names etc.   then send your complaint to the practice or email it in at for the attention of the Practice Manager Tracey Wilkinson.

What we shall do

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

If you make your complaint orally this should be resolved satisfactorily at the time of the complaint or within one working day.  In cases where a complaint spans primary care & secondary care, or health & social care, we will co-operate with other providers.

If your complaint is made in writing we shall acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days. We shall then be in a position to discuss how your complaint will be handled and to agree an appropriate timescale for a response. You will be informed of any delays. All complaints will be dealt with as soon as possible.

When we look into your complaint, we 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. We do this by changing practice protocols and by making improvements using updates in training.

At the end of the investigation your complaint will be discussed with you in detail, either in person or in writing.

If the investigation of your complaint identifies an adverse incident this will be properly reported as required and discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting where learning points will be shared.

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 they are incapable (because of illness) of providing this.

Patients over the age of 16 should normally complain themselves.  Children under this age may complain if they are capable of doing so.

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 practice.

Complainants who are dissatisfied with our response can refer their complaint to the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman on 0345 015 4033.

Other sources of help in making a complaint are:

ICAS (The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service - from April 1st 2013 individual local authorities have a legal duty to organise independent advocacy services to provide support for people who are making, or intend on making a complaint about their NHS care or treatment.

Local Citizens Advice Bureau - Whose contact details can be obtained by calling 0300 323 1001 - Patient Self-referral line (Mon-Fri 9am – 1pm only).

The practice will deal with all complaints using the “Principles of Good Complaint Handling” as recommended by the Health Service Ombudsman. The principles are:

  1. Getting it right

  2. Being patient focused

  3. Being open and accountable

  4. Acting fairly and proportionately

  5. Putting things right

  6. Seeking continuous improvement

Patients can also receive advice and advocacy, from both Healthwatch  County Durham and NE Independent Complaints  Advocacy .  

County Durham - Home | Healthwatch Countydurham 

Tel: 0800 3047039


NE NHS Independent Advocacy Service – North East ICA - Carers Federation

Tel: 0808 802 3000




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