The NHS Complaints Procedure
The NHS Complaints Procedure is designed to provide complainants with a prompt but thorough response.
Step One: Letting Us Know Of Your Concerns.
As well as being told when we do things well, we also need to know when things don’t go so well. When this happens you can support us by telling letting us know what the problem is as soon as possible.
We hope that the relationship built up between you and our staff will enable you to raise any issues or concerns you may have with them directly. It is quite possible that they will be able be able to sort out the problem straight away.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
If you would prefer to speak to someone not directly involved with your hospital care and treatment, you can contact a PALS officer on 01271 314090 (9.30am to 4.30pm) or by email: ndht.PALS@nhs.net
The PALS officer can provide support and advice and can often address concerns raised very quickly on your behalf, by contacting the right people or departments. It is quite possible that they will be able to sort out the problem promptly.
More Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) information can be found by clicking here.
Step Two: How To Make A Formal Complaint.
Sometimes talking with staff may not help to resolve matters, you may be unhappy with their response or you may not wish to speak with the staff directly.
We have procedures so that your complaint can be properly looked into and you can be given a considered response. A formal complaint can be made to the Trust in a number of ways:
You can write directly to the Customer Relations Manager at the following address:
Customer Relations Manager,
North Devon District Hospital,
You can contact the Customer Relations Department via telephone, who will register your concerns and initiate the complaints process:
Customer Relations Administrator (01271) 314090.
Alternatively you can register your complaint with us through the Trust’s online complaints form
Step Three: What Will Happen To Your Complaint?
The Trust aim to acknowledge your complaint in writing within three working days of its receipt.
We will ensure that the your complaint is fully investigated and every effort will be made to resolve matters as promptly as possible.
We will aim to provide you with a full written response from the Chief Executive within 35 working days of receiving the complaint.
When it is not possible to meet the suggested 35 working day timescale we will ensure that you are kept informed as to the status of your complaint. In some instances, (for example where your complaint may be complex or relate to a number of services or departments) it may be necessary to request an extension to the timescale in order to genuinely support the further investigation of your complaint.
Through our investigation that the Trust failed in some way, we will look at our practices to try to stop it happening again. It is our policy to investigate complaints in an open honest and transparent manner, we will also offer a full apology where appropriate.
Benefits of Complaints:
Please do not worry about making a complaint. Your complaint may highlight shortcomings, which can be put right – so improving things for other patients.
Making a complaint will not affect how you are treated and complaints letters and records are not filed in your healthcare records.
Other Healthcare Services:
If you have a complaint about
- Your GP, community dentist, pharmacist or optician:
in the first instance please contact them practice directly for further guidance.
- Patient Transport or Hospital Car services, Ambulance Services:
please contact the Patient Transport Services Manager, Westcountry Ambulance Services NHS Trust, Exeter Ambulance Station, Gladstone Road, Exeter EX1 2ED Tel: (01392) 491354
Independent Advice and Help:
Support Empower Advocate Promote (SEAP).
- give you support and guidance in preparing your complaint.
- help you write any letters you want to send
- provide further advice and support during the complaint process.
(However they cannot give a medical opinion or advice).
NHS in England: How do I comment about my NHS Treatment?
Department of Health Website: How to Complain about the NHS.
North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust Complaints Leaflet.
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust: PAL’s.
Step Four: What To Do If You Are Still Dissatisfied?
We hope that we have been able to respond to the issues raised in your complaint in an appropriate way. The Trust is keen to learn from the way in which it manages complaints to try and develop and improve services.
If you are unhappy about our full response, or feel that we have not answered the points that you have raised, you should in the first instance refer them to the Trust, so that all appropriate attempts can be made to finally resolve them locally.
If you remain disatisfied with the further response, you have the right to take your complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is independent of government and the NHS. Her service is confidential and free. There are time limits for taking a complaint to the Ombudsman, although she can waive them if she thinks there is a good reason to do so.
If you have any questions about whether the Ombudsman will be able to help you, or about how to make a complaint, you can contact their helpline on 0345 015 4033, email email@example.com or fax 0300 061 4000. Further information about the Ombudsman is available at www.ombudsman.org.uk.
You can write to the Ombudsman at:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman