Wessex LMCs – Complaints Policy

Wessex LMCs – Complaints Policy

Introduction

Wessex LMCs seeks to provide high quality services to its member practices at all times, however, we recognise that sometimes things go wrong. We will treat all complaints seriously and ensure that they are investigated thoroughly in an unbiased, transparent, timely and appropriate way. The outcome of any investigation will be communicated to the complainant and our complaints process is set out in more detail below.

Definition of a Complaint

A complaint or concern is an expression of dissatisfaction about an act, omission or decision of Wessex LMCs, either verbal or written, justified or not, which requires an investigation or response.

Scope

Wessex LMCs is an organisation created by statute, in order to represent the interests of General Practitioners and their staff, and to negotiate with other organisations on their behalf. It does not deal directly or indirectly with members of the public.

This policy applies to the handling of complaints or concerns relating directly to the services provided by Wessex LMCs.

Who can make a complaint

A complaint can be made by the person who is affected by the action, such as a General Practitioner, an employee of a member practice or a member of their family, or it may be made by a person acting on behalf of an individual where that person:

  • has given consent for a third party to act on their behalf, in which case, we will ask for:
    • the name of the person making the complaint
    • the name of the affected person
    • contact details of the affected person so we can ask for consent
  • has died, in which case the complainant must be the personal representative of the deceased.
  • has a physical or mental incapacity
  • is a child
  • is an MP acting on behalf of a constituent
  • has delegated authority to act on their behalf

For the avoidance of doubt, the LMC does not accept or investigate complaints from individual members of the public, such as a patient of a member practice or one of their relatives, as it is not a patient-facing organisation and has no remit to deal with such matters.

How to complain

By telephone to the Wessex LMCs office on 023 8025 8074

By email to office@wessexlmcs.org.uk

By post to Wessex LMCs, 122 – 124 Hursley Road, Chandler’s Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 1JB

We will endeavour to make the necessary reasonable adjustments to receive, investigate and respond to any complaint.

Timescales for making a complaint

Complaints must not be made later than:

  • 12 months after the date on which the matter which is the subject of the complaint occurred or
  • 12 months after the date on which the matter which is the subject of the complaint came to the notice of the complainant.

If the above timescales are not met and if it is still possible to investigate the complaint effectively, the LMC, at its discretion, may still consider the complaint.

The Complaints Process

All complaints will be acknowledged within 3 working days after the day that the complaint is received.

An offer will be made to the complainant to discuss:

  • the handling of the complaint
  • timescales for responding
  • expectations and desired outcome

A statement will be given to the complainant summarising the complaint, if it was submitted verbally.

The complainant, or their representative will be given a named contact (normally the Business Manager or Director of Primary Care) who will ensure that the complainant is kept up to date with the progress of their complaint investigation. If a case has exceeded our 40 working day response target, an update will be given every 10 working days.

The complainant can expect to receive a formal response with any learning and remedial actions reflected. Responses will be provided in the complainant’s preferred method of communication, wherever possible.

Any response will include:

  • how the complaint was considered
  • an apology, if appropriate
  • a factual explanation of what happened
  • whether the complaint has been upheld and to what degree (ie in full or in part)
  • the conclusions reached, including any remedial action
  • any lessons learnt

If they so wish, the complainant can withdraw their complaint at any time during the process.

Confidentiality

Complaints will be handled in the strictest confidence. Information will only be disclosed to those who have a demonstrable need to access it. Complaints records will be handled in accordance with the LMC’s Records Retention and Disposal Policy.

Compliance and Review

A review of compliance and lessons learned will be undertaken by the LMC’s Governance Group periodically.

Persistent and Unreasonable Behaviour

If contact is identified as persistent or unreasonable and the complaint has/is being investigated in line with the policy, then repeated calls may be considered unacceptable and will be terminated. The complainant will be informed that the complaint has been responded to as fully as possible and there is nothing to add. Future correspondence will not be responded to unless a new, previously unaddressed concern is raised. New concerns/complaints will be managed in the usual way and in line with this policy.

Appeals Process

Should a complainant be unhappy with the outcome of their complaint, they may refer it to the LMC Board for investigation and review. The decision of the Board shall be final.

Date of policy issue: August 2021

Date of next review: September 2024