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Complaints

We make every effort to give the best service possible. However, we are aware that occasionally things can go wrong, resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is the case, we would like the matter to be settled as quickly and amicably as possible.

Who can complain?

  • Complainants may be current or former patients, or their nominated or elected representatives (who have been given consent to act on behalf of a patient).
  • Patients over the age of 16 whose mental capacity is unimpaired should normally complain themselves, or authorise someone to bring a complaint on their behalf.
  • Children under the age of 16 may also make a complaint if they’re able to do so.

If a patient lacks capacity to make decisions, their representative must be able to demonstrate sufficient interest in the patient’s welfare and be an appropriate person to act on their behalf. This could be a partner, relative, or someone appointed under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 with a lasting power of attorney.

Appropriate Person

In certain circumstances, we need to check that a representative is an appropriate person to make a complaint.

  • For example, if the complaint involves a child, we must satisfy ourselves that there are reasonable grounds for the representative to complain, rather than the child concerned.
  • If the patient is a child or a patient who lacks capacity, we must also be satisfied that the representative is acting in the patient’s best interests.

If we are not satisfied that a representative is an appropriate person we will not consider the complaint and will give the representative the reasons for our decision.

Time Limits

A complaint must be made within 12 months, either from the date of the incident or from when the complainant first knew about it. Regulations state that a responsible body should only consider a complaint after this time limit if:

  • the complainant has a good reason for doing so, and
  • it is still possible to investigate the complaint fairly and effectively, despite the delay.

Complaining on behalf of someone else

We strictly apply the rules of medical confidentiality. If you are not the patient but are complaining on their behalf, you must have their permission to do so. A Letter of Authority signed by the person concerned will be required unless they are incapable (because of illness or infirmity) of providing this. A Third Party Consent Form must also be provided. We will then verify this with the patient before we proceed further.

Interpreting Service

For meetings we can arrange an Interpreter for patients whose first language is not English and who needs help with their complaint.

Procedure

We have a two-stage complaints procedure. We will always try to deal with your complaint quickly however if it is clear that the matter will need a detailed investigation, we will notify you of this.

Stage One – early, local resolution

We will try to resolve your complaint within five working days if possible. If you are dissatisfied with our response, you can ask us to escalate your complaint to Stage Two.

Stage Two – Investigation

We will look at your complaint at this stage if you are dissatisfied with our response at Stage One.

We also escalate some complaints straight to this stage if it is clear that they are complex or need detailed investigation.

We will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days and will give our decision as soon as possible. This will be within 20 working days unless additional time is required for us to investigate.

Your Rights

If, after receiving our final decision, you remain dissatisfied you may contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)and ask them to consider your case.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
Bridgeside House
99 McDonald Road
Edinburgh EH7 4NS

Tel: 0800 377 7330/7331
[email protected]
www.spso.org.uk

If posting please write Freepost SPSO.

Confidentiality

All complaints will be treated in the strictest confidence. Where an investigation requires consideration of a patient’s medical records, we will inform the patient or person acting on their behalf if the investigation will involve the disclosure of information to a person other than the Practice or employee of the Practice.

The Practice submits data on the number of complaints received and actioned to NHS Tayside.