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Complaints Policy

Policy for Handling NHS Patient Complaints

In this practice we take complaints very seriously indeed and try to ensure that all our patients are pleased with their experience of our service. When patients complain, they are dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. This procedure is based on these objectives.

Our aim is to react to complaints in the way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled. We learn from every mistake that we make and we respond to customers’ concerns in a caring and sensitive way.  Patients may not always use the word complaint – they may offer a comment or suggestion.  It is important to recognise those comments or suggestions which are really complaints and deal with them appropriately.

Excellent communication is the key to keeping happy and problems are almost always due to a breakdown in communications.

The person responsible for dealing with any complaint about the service which we provide is Lynda Taylor, our Complaints Manager.

A complaint may be made by:

The patient

Their parent or guardian for a child

For adults who are incapable of making a complaint, a relative or other adult person who has an interest in their welfare.

A patient aged 16 or over must give written consent for another person to act for them or before any other information about their care and treatment is provided.

Complaints should be made as soon as possible, usually within 6 months of you becoming aware that you have a cause for complaint and normally no longer than 12 months after the event. If the Complaints Manager is of the opinion, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, that it was not reasonable for the complainant to have made the complaint within the time limit, and it is still possible to investigate the case, the complaint will be dealt with as if it had been made within the time limit.

A patient may approach any member of the practice team and should be referred to the nominated person, unless it is a simple matter which can be resolved immediately.

If a patient complains on the telephone or in person, we will listen to their complaint and offer to refer him or her to the Complaints Manager immediately. If Complaints Manager is not available at the time, then the patient will be told when they will be able to talk to the dentist and arrangements will be made for this to happen. The member of staff will take brief details of the complaint and pass them on. If we cannot arrange a conversation with the dentist within a reasonable period or if the patient does not wish to wait to discuss the matter, arrangements will be made for the Complaints Manager or dentist to contact them directly at the earliest opportunity.

If the patient complains in writing the letter will be passed on immediately to the Complaints Manager.  Any written complaint will also be forwarded to the Health and Social Care Board for monitoring purposes.  Anonymized copies of each complaint and its corresponding response within 3 working days of the response being issued will be forwarded and any further information requested by the Board will also be issued in anonymized format. 

If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges it will normally be referred to the dentist, unless the patient does not want this to happen.

On receipt of a complaint of a clinical nature, the dentist or hygienist should seek advice from their respective defence organisation before dealing with the complaint personally and promptly.  

We will acknowledge the patient’s complaint in writing and enclose a copy of this code of practice as soon as possible, normally within two working days.

We will seek to investigate the complaint within ten working days of receipt to give an explanation of the circumstances which led to the complaint. If the patient does not wish to meet us, then we will attempt to talk to them on the telephone. 

If we are unable to investigate the complaint within ten working days we will notify the patient, giving reasons for the delay and a likely period within which the investigation will be completed.

We will confirm the decision about the complaint in writing immediately after completing our investigation.

All complaints will be recorded in a complaints file. This file will be kept in a central, secure place at the practice. The practice will record:

The date the complaint was received

Who received the complaint and how the complaint was received (verbally, telephone, letter, e-mail)

Details of the complaint and the results of the subsequent investigation

Contemporaneous notes of telephone conversations and meetings

The outcome of the complaint and action taken by the practice including changes or improvements

Correspondence between the patient and the practice. 

Records of complaints are kept separately from the patients records for at least two years from the date on which the complaint is made.

If patients are not satisfied with the result of our procedure then a complaint may be made to:

The Health and Social Care Board,

12-22 Linenhall Street

Belfast 

BT2 8BS 

Tel:  02890321313

E-mail: complaints.hscb@hscni.net

The General Dental Council,

  37 Wimpole Street,

London, W1M 8DQ

Telephone: 0845 222 4141

(The dentists’ regulatory body for complaints about professional misconduct)

Please find enclosed an information leaflet explaining how your concerns will be handled and contact details for the Patient and Client Council who offer support for complainants, if required:

Patient and Client Council

1st Floor, Lesley House

25-27 Wellington Place

Belfast

BT1 6GQ

Tel: 08009170222

Website: www.patientclientcouncil.hscni.net

And you can also contact

The Ombudsman

Freepost BEL1478

Belfast

BT1 6BR

Freephone: 0800343424

E-mail: ombudsman@ni-ombudsman.org.uk

Harbour Dental Practice will cooperate with any investigation undertaken in respect of such a complaint, including providing information and answering questions and attending meetings at a reasonable location, at a reasonable hour for which reasonable notice has been given.

If the investigation requires patient records to be disclosed to a person other than the dentist or a person employed by the dentist, the patient must be informed.

Harbour Dental Practice will supply a summary of complaints made during the preceding 12 months and the actions taken in response to Regulation And Quality Improvement Authority, 9th Floor, Riverside Tower, 5 Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3BT.

 

 

Policy for Handling Private Patient Complaints

 

In this practice we take complaints very seriously indeed and try to ensure that all our patients are pleased with their experience of our service. When patients complain, they are dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. This procedure is based on these objectives.

Our aim is to react to complaints in the way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled. We learn from every mistake that we make and we respond to customers’ concerns in a caring and sensitive way.  Patients may not always use the word complaint – they may offer a comment or suggestion.  It is important to recognise those comments or suggestions which are really complaints and deal with them appropriately.

Excellent communication is the key to keeping happy and problems are almost always due to a breakdown in communications.

The person responsible for dealing with any complaint about the service which we provide is Lynda Taylor, our Complaints Manager.

A complaint may be made by:

The patient

Their parent or guardian for a child

For adults who are incapable of making a complaint, a relative or other adult person who has an interest in their welfare.

A patient aged 16 or over must give written consent for another person to act for them or before any other information about their care and treatment is provided.

Complaints should be made as soon as possible, usually within 6 months of you becoming aware that you have a cause for complaint and normally no longer than 12 months after the event. If the Complaints Manager is of the opinion, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, that it was not reasonable for the complainant to have made the complaint within the time limit, and it is still possible to investigate the case, the complaint will be dealt with as if it had been made within the time limit.

A patient may approach any member of the practice team and should be referred to the nominated person, unless it is a simple matter which can be resolved immediately.

If a patient complains on the telephone or in person, we will listen to their complaint and offer to refer him or her to the Complaints Manager immediately. If Complaints Manager is not available at the time, then the patient will be told when they will be able to talk to the dentist and arrangements will be made for this to happen. The member of staff will take brief details of the complaint and pass them on. If we cannot arrange a conversation with the dentist within a reasonable period or if the patient does not wish to wait to discuss the matter, arrangements will be made for the Complaints Manager or dentist to contact them directly at the earliest opportunity.

If the patient complains in writing the letter will be passed on immediately to the Complaints Manager.

If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges it will normally be referred to the dentist, unless the patient does not want this to happen.

On receipt of a complaint of a clinical nature, the dentist or hygienist should seek advice from their respective defence organisation before dealing with the complaint personally and promptly.  

We will acknowledge the patient’s complaint in writing and enclose a copy of this code of practice as soon as possible, normally within two working days.

We will seek to investigate the complaint within ten working days of receipt to give an explanation of the circumstances which led to the complaint. If the patient does not wish to meet us, then we will attempt to talk to them on the telephone. 

If we are unable to investigate the complaint within ten working days we will notify the patient, giving reasons for the delay and a likely period within which the investigation will be completed.

We will confirm the decision about the complaint in writing immediately after completing our investigation.

All complaints will be recorded in a complaints file. This file will be kept in a central, secure place at the practice. The practice will record:

The date the complaint was received

Who received the complaint and how the complaint was received (verbally, telephone, letter, e-mail)

Details of the complaint and the results of the subsequent investigation

Contemporaneous notes of telephone conversations and meetings

The outcome of the complaint and action taken by the practice including changes or improvements

Correspondence between the patient and the practice. 

Records of complaints are kept separately from the patients records for at least two years from the date on which the complaint is made.

If patients are not satisfied with the result of our procedure then a complaint may be made to:

The Dental Complaints Service, 

The Lansdowne Building, 

2 Lansdowne Road, 

Croydon, 

Greater London CR9 2ER 

Telephone: 08456 120 540

(for complaints about private treatment)

The General Dental Council,

  37 Wimpole Street,

London, W1M 8DQ

Telephone: 0845 222 4141

(The dentists’ regulatory body for complaints about professional misconduct)

For Denplan patients, please contact Denplan’s Complaints Handling Team at 0800 169 7220.

The Ombudsman

Freepost BEL1478

Belfast

BT1 6BR

Freephone: 0800343424

E-mail: ombudsman@ni-ombudsman.org.uk

Harbour Dental Practice will cooperate with any investigation undertaken in respect of such a complaint, including providing information and answering questions and attending meetings at a reasonable location, at a reasonable hour for which reasonable notice has been given.

If the investigation requires patient records to be disclosed to a person other than the dentist or a person employed by the dentist, the patient must be informed.

Harbour Dental Practice will supply a summary of complaints made during the preceding 12 months and the actions taken in response to Regulation And Quality Improvement Authority, 9th Floor, Riverside Tower, 5 Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3BT.


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