Practice Complaints

Bridge Medical Centre - Complaints Procedure 


This procedure sets out the practice's approach to the handling of complaints.

From 1st April 2009 a common approach to the handling of complaints was introduced across health and adult social care.  This procedure complies with this.

Bridge Medical Centre welcomes the opportunity to investigate and review issues raised by patients who have identified areas of concern.  This enables the practice to listen to our patients concerns, investigate identified areas and or team members, review policy and procedure where necessary and learn from the experience with a view to not repeat in the future for any other patients.

Our complaints form is available to download below, along with a patient's consent form should a complaint need to be made on behalf of a patient.


Our Policy

The practice will take reasonable steps to ensure that patients are aware of:

    • The complaints procedure
    • The role of West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (WSXCCG) and other bodies in relation to complaints about services under contract.  This includes the ability of the patient to complain directly to WSXCCG and to excalate to the Ombudsman
    • Their right to assistance with any complaint from independant advocacy services

The principal method of achieving this is the Practice Patient Complaints Lealfet, the Practice Leaflet, by Internal Advertising Posters, our Websites and Opportunistically

The Complaints Managers for the Practice are

    • Mrs Jackie Morris Practice Business Manager
    • The Lead GP Partner for complaints handling is Dr Nigel Mohabir




Our Procedures

The practice may receive a complaint made by, or (with his/her consent) on behalf of a patient, or former patient, who is receiving or has received treatment at the practice, or:

a) where the patient is a child;

    • By either parent, or in the absence of both parents, the guardian or other adult who has care of the child
    • By a person duly authorised by a local authority to whose care the child has been committed under the provisions of the Children Act 1989
    • By a person duly authorised by a voluntary organisation by which the child is being accommodated

 b) where the patient is incapable of making a complaint, by a relative or other adult who has an interest in his/her welfare

All complaints, written and verbal will be recorded, and written complaints will be acknowledged in writing within 3 working days of receipt.  For the avoidence of doubt and for clarity, patients will be encouraged to complain in writing where possible.


Period within which Complaints can be made

The period for making a complaint is normally:

a) within 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint occurred; or

b) within 12 months from the date on which the event which is subject to the complaint comes to the complainants notice.

 Complaints should normally be resolved within 6 months.  The practice standard will be, acknowledged within 3 working days.

The Complaints Manager or Lead GP has the discretion to extend the time limits if the complainant has good reason for not making the complaint sooner, or where it is still possible to properly investigate the complaint despite the extended delay.

When considering an extension to the time limit it is important that the Complaints Manager or the Lead GP takes into consideration that the passage of time may prevent an accurate recollection of events by the clinician concerned or by the person bringing the complaint.  The collection of evidence, Clinical Guidelines or other resources relating to the time when the complaint event arose may also be difficult to establish or obtain.  These factors may be considered as suitable reason for declining a time limit extension.


Action upon Receipt of a Complaint

Complaints may be received either verbally or in writing and must be forwarded to the Complaints Manager, who must:

Acknowledge in writing within the period of 3 working days beginning on the day on which the complaint was received or, where that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable.  Our acknowledgment letter will include;

    • Advise the patient of the potential timescale and
    • The next steps
    • An offer to discuss the matter in person

Ensure the complaint is properly investigated.  Where the complaint involves more than one organisation the Complaints Manager will liaise with his/her counterpart to agree responsibilities and ensure that one coordinated responce is sent;

Where the complaint has been sent to the incorrect organisation, advise the patient within 3 working days and ask them if they want it to be forwarded on.  If it is sent on, advise the patient of the full contact details;

Provide a written responce to the patient as soon as reasonable practicable ensuring that the patient is kept up to date with progress as appropriate.  This will include a full report and a statement advising them of their right to take the matter to the Ombudsman if required;

Verbal complaints not resolved within one working day will be required to be put in writing and forwarded to the complainant for approval.


Unreasonable Complaints

Where a complainant becomes aggressive or, despite effective complaint handling, unreasonable in their promotion of the complaint, some or all of the following formal provisions will apply and will be comminicated to the patient:

    • The complainant will be managed by one named individual at senior level who will be the only contact for the patient
    • Contact will be limited to one method only - eg in writing only
    • Place a time limit on each contact
    • The number of contacts in a time period will be restricted
    • A witness will be present for all contacts
    • Repeated complaints about the same issue will be refused
    • Only acknowledge correspondence regarding a closed matter, not respond to it
    • Set behaviour standards
    • Return irrelevant documentation
    • Keep detailed records


Final Response

This will include:

    • A clear statement of the issues, investigations and the findings, giving clear evidence-based reasons for decisions if/where appropriate
    • Where errors have ocurred, explain these fully and state what will be done to put these right, or prevent repitition
    • A focus on fair and proportionate the outcomes for the patient, including any remedial action or compensation
    • A clear statement that the response is the final one, or that further action or reports will be sent later
    • An apology and or explanation as appropriate
    • A statement of the right to escalate the complaint, together with the relevant contact details

If you are unhappy with any of these procedures, the way in which we deal with your complaint or are unhappy with our findings and conclusions you can contact any of the following;

Healthwatch West Sussex / Independant Health Complaints Advocacy Service (IHCAS)

They provide free, independent and confidential advice and support, helping you sort out any concerns you may have about the care we provide, guiding you through the different services available from the NHS.


Healthwatch West Sussex

PO Box 1360


West Sussex RH10 0QS

Telephone:  0300 012 0122




ICAS Advocate

Horsham Advice Centre

They provide free, independent and confidential advice and support, helping you sort out any concerns you may have about the care we provide, guiding you through the different services available from the NHS.


Lower Tanbridge Way


West Sussex RH12 1PJ

Telephone:  0844 477 1171


NHS England

PO Box 16738


B97 9PT

Telephone:  0300 311 2233



The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Millbank Tower


London SW1P 4QP

Telephone:  0345 015 4033



Annual Review of Complaints

The practice will establish an annual complaints report, incorporating a review of complaints received, along with any learning issues or changes to procedures which have arisen.  This report is to be made available to any person who requests it, and may form part of the Freedom of Information Act Publication Scheme.

This will include

    • Full anonymity
    • Statistics on the number of complaints received
    • Justified/unjustified analysis
    • Number of known referrals to Ombudsman
    • Subject matter / categorisation / clinical care
    • Learning points
    • Methods of complaint management
    • Any changes to procedure, policies or care which have resulted



All complaints will be treated in the strictest confidence

Where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of a patients medical record, the Complaints Manager must inform the patient or person acting on his/her behalf if the investigation will involve disclosure of infirmation contained in those records to a person other than the practice or an employee of the practice.

The practice must keep a record of all complaints and copies of all correspondence relating to complaints, but such records must be kept seperate from a patients medical records.