Should you need any assistance in dealing with a complaint, you can contact the LMC office for support. We can guide you through the process of handling a complaint, answer any queries you may have and help you to draft a response if this is what you need. If you need some support from a GP colleague – be it just a quick question or someone to talk to who knows how you are feeling – the LMC Support & Development Service is also here to help.
Getting a complaint can be as traumatic for a GP as it was for a patient who had cause to complain following a negative experience. Undoubtedly some complaints are vexatious but there are always things to learn and reflect on from patient feedback. Comments on NHS Choices and other similar websites can sometimes be inaccurate, unfair or inappropriate, which can potentially damage an organisation or staff member’s reputation.
- BMA Advice – Dealing with unfair comments on websites
- Advice from Dr Marika Davies, Senior Medicolegal Adviser at Medical Protection
If a complaint is of a serious nature, we may advise you to seek further advice from your medical defense organisation. If a complaint turns into a medical negligence claim, this should be reported to NHS Resolution: Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (CNSGP).
It is important to remember that there areRegulations around the handling of complaints so it is important to follow the correct procedure.
Be clear on what your obligations are:
- NHS Complaints - BMA Guidance 2015
- NHS Complaints Procedure – BMA FAQs 2015
- NHS Resolution: Responding to complaints 2019
- NHS England Complaints Policy
Always keep in mind some golden rules of complaint handling:
- Take on board what the patient is saying there is usually something to learn/reflect on/change
- Apologise where appropriate.
- Respond to the complaint in such a way as to avoid it being escalated to the next level – make sure you clearly address the points being raised in a patient’s complaint letter
- Don’t remove patients from the list because they complain
- Discuss the complaints in your Appraisal
- Remember you are not alone- you are not the only GP to receive a complaint – speak with a trusted colleague/partner/LMC.