We make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our practice.
However, we are aware that things can go wrong resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is so, we would wish for the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.
To pursue a complaint please contact the practice manager who will deal with your concerns appropriately. Further written information is available regarding the complaints procedure from reception.
Making a Complaint
Most problems can be sorted out quickly and easily, often at the time they arise with the person concerned and this may be the approach you try first.
Where you are not able to resolve your complaint in this way and wish to make a formal complaint you should do so, preferably in writing as soon as possible after the event and ideally within a few days, as this helps us to establish what happened more easily. In any event, this should be:
- Within 12 months of the incident,
- or as soon as the matter first came to your attention.
If you are a registered patient you can complain about your own care. You are unable to complain about someone else’s treatment without their written authority. See the separate section in this leaflet.
We are able to provide you with a separate complaints form to register your complaint and this includes a third-party authority form to enable a complaint to be made by someone else. Please ask at reception for this. You can provide this in your own format providing this covers all the necessary aspects.
Send your written complaint to:
The Practice Manager
Tonbridge Medical Group
3 River Lawn road Tonbridge Kent TN9 1EP
Alternatively you can contact the practice to lodge a complaint.
What we do next
We look to settle complaints as soon as possible.
We will acknowledge receipt within 3 working days, and aim to have looked into the matter within 10 working days. You may then receive a formal reply in writing, or you may be invited to meet with the person(s) concerned to attempt to resolve the issue. If the matter is likely to take longer than this we will let you know, and keep you informed as the investigation progresses.
When looking into a complaint we attempt to see what happened and why, to see if there is something we can learn from this, and make it possible for you to discuss the issue with those involved if you would like to do so.
When the investigations are complete your complaint will be determined and a final response sent to you.
Where your complaint involves more than one organisation (e.g. social services) we will liaise with that organisation so that you receive one coordinated reply. We may need your consent to do this. Where your complaint has been sent initially to an incorrect organisation, we may seek your consent to forward this to the correct person to deal with.
The final response letter will include details of the result of your complaint and also your right to escalate the matter further if you remain dissatisfied with the response.
Complaining on Behalf of Someone Else
We keep to the strict rules of medical and personal confidentiality. If you wish to make a complaint and are not the patient involved, we will require the written consent of the patient to confirm that they are unhappy with their treatment and that we can deal with someone else about it.
Please ask at reception for the Complaints Form which contains a suitable authority for the patient to sign to enable the complaint to proceed.
Where the patient is incapable of providing consent due to illness or accident it may still be possible to deal with the complaint. Please provide the precise details of the circumstances which prevent this in your covering letter.
Please note that we are unable to discuss any issue relating to someone else without their express permission, which must be in writing, unless the circumstances above apply.
We may still need to correspond direct with the patient, or may be able to deal direct with the third party, and this depends on the wording of the authority provided.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome
Complaining to the NHS
We hope that if you do have a complaint you will use our practice complaint procedure. We believe this will give us the best chance of resolving the issue satisfactorily and provide an opportunity for us to improve our practice. However, this does not affect your right to approach NHS England if you feel that you cannot raise the complaint directly with us or if you are dissatisfied with the result of our investigation.
As part of the management of complaints in NHS England, your information may be shared with the Commissioning Support Units. If consent is required you will be contacted direct by NHS England.
For further advice contact NHS England:
Telephone: 0300 311 2233 (Monday to Friday 08:00 – 18:00, excluding English Bank Holidays)
Online: NHS England - Contact Us
Post: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch,B97 9PT
Health Service Ombudsman
You have the right to approach the Health Service Ombudsman. The contact details are:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Telephone: 0345 0154033
Online: Visit the website
Other means of complaining
- The Care Quality Commission: If you remain unhappy after local resolution and independent review then you can complain to the Health Service Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is completely independent of both the NHS and Government. You can contact the Ombudsman at: Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP. Tel No: 0345 015 4033 or visit the website
- Independent Complaints Advocacy Service – (ICAS) VoiceAbility: A new service was instituted by the government to assist those who wish to or are making complaints about the NHS – the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS). In the London region, ICAS is being provided by the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. You determine how much
you want from ICAS, be it advice, assistant or support. The service is free and confidential and can be contacted via their head office at: NHS Complaints Advocacy, VoiceAbility, Mount Pleasant House, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0RN. Tel No: 0300 330 5454
The practice Complaints Manager is: Mrs Julie Kent
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