It is acknowledged that all staff working within Neyo could be presented with a Patient wishing to raise a concern or complaint at any time. Therefore, staff need to be able to manage this in a sensitive, structured and timely manner. In order to do this staff will:
- Be trained on induction and as a routine measure to ensure that knowledge is embedded and refreshed around the complaints procedure
- Have access to the complaints procedure
- Be provided with the opportunity to reflect and learn from complaints as a means of developing and driving quality care
- Appreciate that any feedback from Patients or their representatives that is of concern needs immediate resolution, where possible, to their satisfaction
- Be clearly advised that, on presentation of a complaint, swift escalation to management is necessary and purposefully withholding or concealing concerns expressed by Patients or their representatives could lead to discipleinary action
Management Team at Neyo
The management team at Neyo is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy, for regulations, for improvement planning and having arrangements in place to provide relevant reports and information regarding complaints is the main point of contact for the receipt, investigation and management of complaints within Neyo.
However, this could be delegated to a senior member of staff within Neyo who has the experience, knowledge and competence to investigate and manage complaints
Neyo will ensure that the procedure for raising a complaint is accessible
Seeking Views and Engaging with Patients
Neyo will seek out opportunities to obtain feedback from Patients and stakeholders.
Neyo will act with sensitivity, integrity and professionalism by treating individuals who do raise a suggestion with compassion, courtesy and respect.
Consent for feedback and opinions will be required for all feedback requested from individuals. It is an individual’s right to not to participate with workplace ongoing feedback requests. Permission will be sought, alongside full explanations of the aim of feedback requests to ensure that understanding is clear.
Compliments and Suggestions
Neyo welcomes compliments and suggestions and recognises their importance in celebrating and recognising the success of its service and opportunities for improvement. It will engage with a wide range of stakeholders in addition to Patients to support service development and improvement. It will share feedback with its staff.
Where a complaint or concern is raised that relates to a Patient being harmed or likely to be harmed, Neyo will follow the Safeguarding Policy and Procedure at Neyo in addition to the complaints procedures, seeking advice and guidance from the Safeguarding Adults Team and raising a safeguarding notification where required. Neyo will also notify the CQC in line with its statutory duty.
A complaint can be received by Neyo either verbally or in writing and can be made by:
- Someone acting on behalf of a Patient and with their written consent, e.g. an advocate, relative, Member of Parliament
- Someone acting on behalf of a Patient who is unable to represent his or her own interests, provided this does not conflict with the Patient’s right to confidentiality or a previously expressed wish of the Patient
Neyo should ensure that Patients are given information on how to make a complaint and the process once a complaint has been made, including any agreed timescales.
Time Limits for Submitting a Complaint
Complaints should be submitted within 12 months of the incident or concern arising.
The time limit, however, can and should be waived, if:
- It is still practical and possible to investigate the complaint (the records still exist and the individuals concerned are still available to be questioned, etc.) and
- The complainant can demonstrate reasonable cause for delay in making the complaint It is at the discretion of NEYO if the time limit can be set aside.
Step 1 – When a complaint is raised to staff, staff will make an effort to resolve it immediately to the satisfaction of the complainant.
Step 2 – Staff will apologise for the fact that there was the need to complain in the first instance and explain the complaints process as described in the procedure steps.
Step 3 – Staff will report the complaint to the most senior member of staff on duty and the complaint will be logged.
Step 4 – Formal acknowledgement of the complaint will be sent within 72 hours of receipt to the complainant and this could be via letter or email. Neyo will ensure that the out-of-hours and weekend complaints received are managed effectively
The acknowledgement will include:
- An invitation to meet and discuss the complaint
- Who will be investigating the complaint
- How the investigation will be handled – the response should state what the investigation will be focused on
- A time limit for the investigation to be concluded. This should be 28 days. However, some cases may take longer and the complainant will be made aware of this
- The complaints procedure and contact details of bodies that can be accessed in the event of dissatisfaction with the outcome of the investigation
Step 5 – Following a full investigation, a response letter will be sent and this will include the following:
- A summary of the issue from the complainant’s point of view
- Details of the evidence and sources consulted in order to investigate the issue fully and fairly
- A presentation of the findings for each issue clearly and concisely described
- A conclusion, stating clearly whether the issue is “upheld”, “partially upheld” or “not upheld”, unless it is ineligible, in which case the reason for this will be given, e.g. out of time or out of jurisdiction
- An explanation of the outcome and whether any remedial action or learning points arise from the investigation of that issue
- An apology where the issue is upheld and shortcomings or failings have been found
- The complainant’s rights if not satisfied with the outcome to refer to the Dental Complaints Service or the General Dental Council
- A signature from Neyo or sent by email in their name
Step 6 – The complaint will be closed once confirmation has been received that there is satisfaction with the outcome. In the event of dissatisfaction, Neyo will support the complainant to access further support.
Occasionally, Neyo may receive complaints that are vexatious in that they cause considerable disruption to the work at Neyo, disproportionate cost and time to handle and impact the wellbeing of staff (because of the way the complaint is made or because of its repetitive nature).
Neyo will ensure that it meets the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled customers. In some circumstances, customers may have a disability that makes it difficult for them to either express themselves or communicate clearly and/or appropriately. Where there is an indication that this may be the case, Neyo will consider the needs and circumstances of the Patient or complainant in the first instance and use this information to inform any decisions that are made.
Where appropriate, Neyo will consider complaints to be vexatious but would not label an individual complainant as vexatious. Even if Neyo decides that an individual’s complaint about the service is vexatious, that does not preclude that person from making a formal complaint. Neyo would still consider any such complaints in line with the usual procedures.
To help decide whether a complaint is vexatious, Neyo will consider the full history and context of interactions with the individual making the complaint and will look at both the nature of the complaint and the manner in which it is made. The particular issues that will inform a decision will include whether:
- The primary purpose and/or effect of the complaint is to disturb, disrupt and or pressurise Neyo, its staff or an individual member of staff
- The primary purpose and/or effect of the manner in which the complaint is made is to disturb, disrupt and or pressurize Neyo, its staff or an individual member of staff
- The complaint is otherwise clearly unreasonable
If at any point in the handling of a complaint, a member of staff believes it meets the criteria to be deemed vexatious, it must be referred to Neyo with a summary of why it is thought to be vexatious.
Neyo will consider the complaint, seek external advice if appropriate, and will either declare the complaint as being vexatious, or not. Where a complaint is not deemed to be vexatious, it will be returned to the appropriate point in the complaints handling process.
If a complaint is deemed to be vexatious, Neyo will respond directly to the complainant explaining why it is thought to be so and explain that the complaint will be closed with no further action. Neyo will also consider if the making of a vexatious complaint also requires the application of a restriction on communication following unreasonable behaviour.
The decision to declare a complaint as vexatious will be recorded in the complaints register for future reference. Any declaration that refers to the specific complaint being vexatious and any further complaints from the same individual will still be considered.
If any individual wishes to challenge a decision made in relation to this policy, and all attempts to resolve the complaint locally have been unsuccessful, details of the CCG’s complaints team and Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) will be shared with the complainant.
The Complaints Log
A record will be held of all complaints raised and contain the following information:
- Each complaint received
- Subject matter and outcome
- Details of any reason for delay where investigations took longer than the agreed response period
- The date the report of outcome was sent to the complainant
Where complaints relate to a Patient, a copy of the complaint will be held in their Patient records so that the Patient can reflect on the recommendations.
Where complaints are raised by telephone, the log will include the date and time of the call and this should be followed up with written confirmation of the areas discussed.
Where a complaint indicates the potential abuse of Patients, safeguarding policies will be followed as per ‘s policy and procedure and necessary notifications made to the Care Quality Commission.
Where complaints are to be shared as part of learning, the complaint should be anonymised so that there is no identifiable Patient information.
All investigations will be managed by using the following approach:
- Investigating the fact
- Assessing evidence
- Reviewing records
- Interviewing those involved
Where necessary, advice and support will be sourced via senior managers within Neyo. The complaint should be investigated by a member of staff with the knowledge, experience and seniority to undertake the investigation robustly.
Confidentiality of information will be considered at all times and staff will adhere to the confidentiality policies and relevant codes of practice.
If an investigation of a complaint results in disciplinary action for staff within Neyo, the complaint will continue to its conclusion. The complainant will be informed that the investigation has led to a disciplinary process, but the details of the outcome or ongoing investigation should remain confidential.
There are many bodies that can support, or will need to be informed of, unresolved complaints:
Care Quality Commission
Individuals can escalate their complaint to the Care Quality Commission via:
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (For Patients who are NHS funded)
Individuals have the right to raise a concern about a service that is NHS funded. This is a free service and individuals can contact via:
Integrated Care Boards
Individuals can make a complaint about a health service they are receiving or have received and can discuss this with the commissioner of the service. Local contact details can be located via:(https://www.england.nhs.uk/integratedcare/what-is-integrated-care/#ccg-e)
General Dental Council
If a complaint involves the serious misconduct of a healthcare professional, their relevant professional body can be informed and this is determined on an individual case basis in discussion with the Registered Manager.
Dental Complaints Services
If the dental treatment was carried out privately, then the Dental Complaints Services are often able to settle dental complaints fairly and effectively.
Receiving compliments is an opportunity to celebrate and recognise success. Neyo will ensure that:
- All compliments are shared with staff and displayed in public areas to highlight good practice
- Compliments are anonymised or permission is sought before displaying them
- Numbers of compliments received are logged as part of a quality assurance programme
Suggestions can be made verbally or in writing and generally are in response to seeking a means of changing practice for the better.
- Suggestions are not complaints, but in some circumstances, if they are not considered or actioned, they could lead to a complaint
- When suggestions are raised in meetings or as part of a conversation, these should be documented and then outcomes of such suggestions recorded to show that they have been considered
- Staff should be encouraged to share their suggestions with the manager
- Consideration should be given to implementing a suggestions system to encourage comments from Patients, staff and visitors
Audit and Evaluation
Neyo will monitor, review and analyse all information received about the service as a means of continuously reviewing performance, quality and safety.
Neyo will also:
- Share themes and trends with staff
- Ensure that staff are trained to deal with complaints and understand the procedure for managing complaints
Anonymous complaints should be investigated in the same way as named complaints. They should be logged and any corrective action necessary should be taken and also logged.
All efforts will be made by Neyo to resolve all complaints within Neyo. If a Patient does not wish to raise a complaint directly with the management within Neyo, in the first instance, staff should try and sensitively establish the reasons why and aim to resolve and address any concerns that present.
Decisions to raise complaints outside of Neyo will be fully respected and the Patient should be supported to raise their complaint to the commissioner of the service or to seek the support of an independent advocate or representative