This outcome is about ensuring that comments and complaints are listened to and acted on effectively, without fear of discrimination for making the complaint.

Outcome in plain English

17A For the complainant should be sure that their Comments and complaints are listened to and dealt with you need to:

  • have a complaints procedure; which is monitored and reviewed.
  • Have a complaints manager"
  • Have a readily available complaints procedure
  • ensure that the details of the complaint and the desired outcome have been understood
  • make sure that advice and advocacy support is available
  • Explain the timescales for the complaints resolution
  • Properly investigate the complaint
  • Keep an audit trail
  • deal with the complaint in a factual manner
  • make sure the complaint is dealt with by a competent person
  • Complaints are reviewed by someone not involved in the complaint
  • Comments and complaints should be resolved satisfactorily unless:The complaints procedure should address dealing with persistent complainants fairly
    • it is not the providers responsibility to deal with it
    • the complaint is not valid
  • encourage openness
  • Maintain full complaints logs
  • Use the complaints to identify non-compliance
  • The patient should be given the contact details of the CQC to report concerns

17B Shared treatment

  • A patient who is treated by more than one provider should have a comprehensive response to their complaint

17C Providers registered with the CQC

  • The annual complaints report is to be submitted to the CQC

17D People using the services should benefit from your compliance with all relevant legislation and best practice

17E People using  services or their representatives are able to use the comments and complaints process because:

  • they are treated respectfully
  • they know how to obtain the complaints procedure
  • their complaints are dealt with in time
  • Complaints can be filed verbally, in writing and in sign language
  • Staff should help patients, where needed, to file a complaint
  • Complainants should not be discriminated against
  • They should know the timescales of the investigation and resolution process
  • They can ask adult social services to assist them in filing a complaint
  • If their treatment is funded by the NHS then they can use the NHS complaints procedure


What the BMA says

Your practice is likely to be compliant if your practice does the following:

  1. Ensures that complaints are investigated in a proportionate and sufficiently thorough manner, and by appropriate staff (preferably someone not involved in the events leading to the complaints).
  2. Allows patients to make general comments / suggestions about how the practice’s service could be improved, as well as complaints.
  3. Deals with all patients in a fair and equal way, regardless of whether they have made a complaint.
  4. Advises patients of their right to refer a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of your investigation.

Your practice has the following:

  1. A complaints procedure that is publicised on the practice premises and complies with the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009. An example of a complaints procedure can be viewed in Appendix B12.  
  2. A person responsible for handling complaints.  
  3. Full records of complaints, including a documented audit trail of the steps taken and the decisions reached on each investigation.



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