Complaints are a gift
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“ Complaints are a gift”. Managing Complaints to Improve Performance Jo Wilson (NELCTP) and Zo ë Wray (NHS NL). Aims. Integrated Health and Social Care Complaints legislation. Effective complaints handling. Integrated Health & Social Care legislation.

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Complaints are a gift

“Complaints are a gift”

Managing Complaints to Improve Performance

Jo Wilson (NELCTP) and Zoë Wray (NHS NL)

Complaints are a gift


  • Integrated Health and Social Care Complaints legislation.

  • Effective complaints handling

Integrated health social care legislation

Integrated Health & Social Care legislation

  • Integrated Health and Social Care Complaints procedure with a single regulator – implementation on 1st April 2009.

Government Bill

Goals of the new arrangements

Goals of the new arrangements

  • Consistent approach

  • Simplify things

  • Service improvement

Key changes

Key changes

  • Single approach for health and social care

  • An end to the Health Care Commission role

  • Timescales to be agreed with the complainant

  • Choice to complain to the commissioner instead of the provider (NHS)

Legal requirements

Legal requirements

  • Publicise complaints procedures

  • Acknowledge & discuss (3 working days)

  • Investigate and respond in writing

  • A designated manager for complaints

  • Produce an annual report including complaints issues and service improvements.

Principles of good complaint handling

Principles of good complaint handling

  • Getting it right

  • Customer focussed

  • Being open and accountable

  • Acting fairly and proportionately

  • Putting things right

  • Seeking continuous improvement

What is a complaint

What is a complaint?

“An expression of dissatisfaction which requires a response whether it be verbally or in writing”

NHSE 1996

What should be considered a complaint

What should be considered a complaint?

  • It is not resolved swiftly (within 24 hours)

  • When there is a risk:

    To the individual

    ORTo the organisation

  • Where there is repetition

  • When it involves a child or vulnerable adult

  • “I’m not complaining but….”

Why are complaints important

Why are complaints important?

  • Free Feedback

  • Illustrate poor services

  • Indicate possible improvements required

  • Identify areas of risk

How is complaint received

How is complaint received?

I wish to complain

  • In person

  • Verbally

  • In writing

  • Via e-mail

  • Via complaints form

  • Third party (carer or relative)

    Remember:Learning disability, physical disability, mental health, other languages…

Who may complain

Who may complain?

  • Patient/Service User

  • Person acting on behalf of the person

    • Child

    • Physical incapacity

    • Mental capacity

      Express consent may be required from patient

Information needed for a complaint

Information needed for a complaint

  • Name

  • Address

  • DOB

  • Relationship to complainant (If applicable)

  • Exact details of issue

  • Date issue occurred

  • Desired outcome

What is the complainant looking for

What is the complainant looking for?


  • Apology

  • Voicing the complaint

  • Acknowledgement

  • Explanation

  • Report on action to prevent recurrence

  • Punishment

  • Redress & Compensation

    ‘Being Heard’ Report 1994

Responding to the complainant

Responding to the complainant

  • Timely

  • Is a letter the best medium? (although must have a written response)

  • Use the complainant’s words in the response

  • The information considered

  • Your deliberations and decisions

    • What happened

    • What should have happened

    • Do they match?

  • Actions to remedy mistake/improve service



The Complaints Procedure is a formal process for dealing with issues if:

  • It cannot be resolved through an informal process

  • The person wishes to use it

Closing the circle

Closing the circle

Improve performance

Improve Performance

  • Improved Customer Service

  • Identifies areas of good practice

  • Identifies areas of risk

  • Remember:

    • 1:3 satisfied

    • 1:7 dissatisfied



A complaint is a gift which leads to service improvement…

= =

More information

More information

  • The Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009

  • Listening, Responding, Improving – A guide to better customer care

Help is at hand

Help is at hand…..


  • Jo Wilson…....................01472 625416

    NHS NL

  • Zoë Wray………………..01652 251100

Parliamentary health service ombudsman

Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman

If you need to make a complaint about a UK government department, or one of its agencies or the NHS in England

Ring our complaints Helpline 0345 015 4033

Or email fax us on 0300 061 4000

The Helpline is open 8:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday.Or write at:

The Parliamentary and Health Service OmbudsmanMillbank TowerMillbankLondonSW1P 4QP

Thank you for listening

Thank you for listening

Any questions?

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