If you have a Complaint
If you have a complaint about our services, we want to hear from you. We take complaints very seriously and try to ensure that all our patients are pleased with their experience of our services. When patients complain, they will be dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. This code is based on these objectives. Our aim is to react to complaints in a way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled. We learn from our mistakes and respond to patients’ concerns in a caring and sensitive way.
Help making a complaint
Designated Complaints Manager: Jayne Magee, Practice Manager, is the Complaints Manager. She can be contacted by telephone (028 38 322441), writing to her at the practice address or emailing her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can complain?
A complaint can be made by a person about any matter connected with the provision of our service and includes:
* A patient
* Former patients using HSC services and facilities
* Someone acting on behalf of existing or former patients provided they have obtained the patient’s consent
* Parents (or persons with parental responsibility)on behalf of a child
* Any appropriate person in respect of a patient unable by reason of physical or mental capacity to make the complaint himself or who has died eg the next-of-kin
How and when to complain
Patients can make complaints to us in any way eg. telephone, verbally, in writing or e-mail. You should try to complain as soon as possible, preferably within 6 months of the event, or within 6 months of you becoming aware of the cause for complaint, or within 12 months of the event, whichever is the earlier.
A) Telephone/face-to-face complaints: We will listen to your complaint and offer to refer you to the Complaints Manager immediately. If you do not wish to wait to discuss the matter, arrangements will be made for the Complaints Manager to contact you as soon as possible. If the Complaints Manager is not available at the time, arrangements will be made for her to contact you later that day or for you to contact her, if you prefer. The staff member will make a written record of your complaint and provide you with a copy as well as passing it on to the Complaints Manager.
B) Written/email complaints: If a patient complains in writing or by e-mail it will be passed on immediately to the Complaints Manager who will contact you as soon as possible. You are welcome to come in to the practice to discuss your concern or this can be done over the telephone.
If your complaint relates to services provided by a health service dentist, you can also contact the Health and Social Care (HSC) Board.
What to include in your complaint
You should try to provide us with the following details: how to contact you; who or what you are complaining about, including staff names if known; where and when the event that caused your complaint happened; where possible, what action you would like us to take
Help with making a complaint (a) Our Complaints Manager will be happy to provide you with more information on how to make a complaint.
(b) The Patient and Client Council provide free and confidential advice, information and help by contacting them at 1st Floor, Ormeau Baths, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast BT2 8HS, Freephone 0800 917 0222, Email email@example.com or www.patientclientcouncil.hscni.net
(c) You can contact the Health and Social Care Board, Southern Trust, Central Reporting Point for Complaints, The Maples, Craigavon Area Hospital, 68 Lurgan Road, Portadown BT63 5QQ, Telephone 028 3861 4150 or HSC Board, 12-22 Linenhall Street, Belfast BT2 8BS
Complaint about clinical care or associated charges: If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges it will normally be referred to the dentist concerned, unless the patient does not want this to happen.
What happens next
a) Acknowledgment: We will acknowledge your complaint in writing within 3 working days from when the complaint was received and will send you a copy of this Code of Practice. If the complaint has been made with the help of the HSC Board, then it will be 20 days.
We will offer to discuss the complaint at a time agreed with you and will ask how you would like to be kept informed of developments eg. by telephone, face-to-face meetings, email or letter. You will be told how the complaint will be dealt with, who will be involved and the anticipated time that the investigation will take to be completed. If you do not wish to discuss the complaint, we will still inform you of the expected timescale for completing the process. The patient will have opportunity to discuss a clinical complaint with the dentist as soon as possible.
b) Investigation: We will seek to investigate the complaint speedily and efficiently and will keep you regularly informed, as far as is reasonably practicable, on the progress of the complaint. Investigations will normally be completed within 10 working days but you will be advised by letter if longer time is needed and the reason. If further details are needed from you a meeting may be useful and the outcome of the meeting will be confirmed in writing to you.
If the investigation requires your records to be disclosed to a person other than a member of our practice team or legal representative, we will ask for your consent to disclose. You will be kept informed about the progress of the investigation.
c) Response: You may be invited to a meeting to resolve the situation and we will send you a copy of the notes taken at same. On completion of our investigation you will receive a full written response by 1st class post explaining how we considered the complaint, our conclusions including details of any necessary remedial action. We will also telephone you to ensure you have received our response and that you understand same.
d) Record keeping: Proper and comprehensive records are kept of any complaint received as well as any action taken to improve our services as a result of the complaint.
Local Resolution and Appeals
a) If you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint, you can contact us again and we will do our best to resolve your concerns.
b) If you feel you still have not received a satisfactory response to your complaint about our dental services, you should contact the Patient and Client Council on 0800 917 0222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Corporate Complaints Officer, Southern Health & Social Care Trust, Trust Headquarters, Craigavon Area Hospital, Portadown, BT63 5QQ Telephone 028 3861 4150 Email email@example.com
Appeals: If you still remain dissatisfied: NHS complaints – we will send you a written notice within 2 weeks of the day on which our internal complaints process is exhausted, stating:
* that our internal complaints process has been exhausted,
* that you may refer the matter to The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO), Progressive House, 33 Wellington Place, Belfast BT1 6HN Tel: 028 90 233821, Text phone: 028 90 897789, Freephone: 0800343424 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.nipso.org.uk
* you must bring the complaint within 6 months of completion of our internal complaints process
Complaints about private treatment should be referred to The Dental Complaints Service, Stephenson house, 2 Cherry Orchard Road, Croydon, CR0 6BA, Telephone 08456 120 540, www.dentalcomplaints.org.uk Email: email@example.com
Complaints about professional misconduct should be referred to The General Dental Council, 37 Wimpole Street, London, W1M 8DQ, Telephone 0845 222 4141
Even if your initial communication is through a solicitor’s letter, we will not infer that you have decided to take legal action, but nonetheless we reserve the right to seek independent legal and/or professional indemnity advice.
If you threaten legal action or issue a court claim against us, the complaint process will cease and you will be advised of this in writing. We will also seek independent legal and/or professional indemnity advice.
We must report any complaints as follows:
* To the Complaints Manager, Health and Social Care Board (Eastern Office) (HSCB), 12-22 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8BS – anonymised copies of each NHS complaint and its corresponding response will be sent to the HSCB within 3 working days of the written response being issued to the complainant
* To the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), 9th floor, Riverside Tower, 5 Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3BT (Telephone 02890 517500) – an statement containing a summary of NHS and private complaints made during the preceding 15 months and the action taken in response
Communications and Record-Keeping
We will mark our written communications to you as ‘private and confidential’ or ‘personal’ and, will ideally, send by first class post.
We must keep full records of your complaint, investigations and responses. These records will not be kept with the patient’s clinical records, but we may include reference to the complaint and that it can be found in a separate Complaints Folder.
If the patient requests access to their health records, records of the complaint will also be included.
Where you can find out more
More information on the complaints procedure is also available at: www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/hsccomplaints.htm
Copies of the HSC complaints leaflet can be made available in alternative formats by contacting the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety at Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, BELFAST, BT4 3SJ, Telephone 028 90520500