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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)


  • 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

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 [email protected] 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?