Complaints in General Practice – avoiding them and dealing

Complaints in General Practice
– avoiding them and dealing
with them
Dr Katherine Teare
GP Educator Fellow
Avoiding Complaints
Listen to the patient
 Explain necessary examinations –
chaperone policy
 Be nice!
 But maintain professional boundaries
 Clear documentation
 Practice and personal safety netting
What if you do get a complaint?
Speak to clinical and educational
 Consider sharing with peer group
 Acknowledge upset or anger it causes you
Practice should have one
 National guidelines
 Need designated responsible person (must
be a partner) and a complaints manager
 Need to acknowledge complaint within 3
working days – by letter
 Engage with complainant as soon as
Acknowledgement Letter
Acknowledge receipt of letter
 Apologise and recognise distress (give
condolences if appropriate)
 Enclose proposed plan if already discussed
or invite to discussed
 Give details of advocacy service
Response Letter
Summarise the main issues they have raised which will also
help you focus your response
Explain what action has been taken to investigate the complaint e.g.
review records, spoken with staff
Give a clear explanation to each issue raised e.g.refer to the history
you took, any examination and findings, treatment provided, advice
given and any follow-up.
What action the practice is taking as a result of the complaint to
reduce the
risk of a similar occurrence.
Include invitation to contact you again if they have any further
Details of their redress through the complaints procedure to the
ombudsman and their right to use the independent complaints
advocacy service (icas).
Reiteration your apology for what occurred.
Reporting complaints
Annual report to CCG including number
complaints, number upheld, subject
matter, number referred to Ombudsman,
actions taken
 Record in portfolio and discuss with
Educational supervisor or appraiser

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