Definition of a Complaint 

“An Expression of Dissatisfaction that Requires a Response”

coffeelaptopPractice Complaints Policy

If you have a complaint or are concerned about the Care, Treatment or manner in which these or any other services have been delivered by, Doctors or staff within the Medical Centre please let us know. The views of our patients can provide a valuable source of learning for the Practice.

Our Complaints Procedure meets the criteria specified by Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.  It does not cover services provided under a private arrangement between the Practice and a patient (e.g. Travel Vaccines Non NHS)

Procedure - How to complain

Our aim is to resolve any problems quickly on a one to one basis. Normally this is  with our Practice Manager, Mr. Alex Larmour who is responsible for Complaints and Patients Views and the recording of all complaints including those of a clinical nature. His contact details are:

Mr. Alex Larmour (Practice Manager)
Ashley Medical Centre,
140 Groomsport Road,
BT20 5PE
Telephone : 02891477150
Fax: 02891272229

You may complain in writing; email, via telephone or face-to-face.  Please try to provide details of how to contact you; who or what you are complaining about; where and when the event that caused your complaint happened.

Complaints should be made immediately or as soon as possible after the event. However, under new guidance we can consider complaints made within 6 months of the date of discovering the problem.  This should normally be within 12 months of the incident happening. 

Complaining on behalf of someone else

We adhere strictly to the principles of Data Protection and confidentiality.  If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we must ensure you have his or her permission.  A note signed by the person concerned, and witnessed by the patient, will be required.  If this is not possible, the complaint should be brought by the next of kin. 

The Process

Under the NHS Constitution, you can expect the following:

  • To have any complaint about NHS services dealt with efficiently and to have it properly investigated;
  • To know the outcome of any investigation into your complaint;
  • To be able to take your complaint to the Ombudsman if you are not satisfied with the way it has been handled;

We hope that you will make use of our Practice Complaints Procedure if you encounter a problem.  We believe this to be the best way to put right whatever has gone wrong and provide an opportunity to improve our Practice. 

Upon receipt of your complaint, we will :

  • acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days;
  • instigate an investigation as soon as possible;
  • upon completion of the investigation we will write to you informing you of the outcome of the investigation and any action taken to correct either policy or procedures. 
  • may invite you to attend a meeting at the surgery to discuss the matter in more detail.

Although complaints are dealt with confidentially, current regulations require the Practice to forward copies of all complaints to the Health and Social Care Board within 3 working days from receipt of the complaint This requires your permission to release details of your complaint to HSCB. We have available pro forma letters to ensure that this is expedited quickly.

Further help

If you feel you cannot raise your complaint with us, or if you are dissatisfied with the result of our investigation, you can approach the NI Commissioner for Complaints (the Ombudsman), or your Health & Social Care Board,

You may also contact the Patient and Client Council, an independent non-departmental public body, for assistance.

Complaints made by GPs and or Medical Centre Staff

GPs are also entitled to complain about a patient if they feel that the patient is being unreasonable or their conduct is causing particular difficulties for the Practice.  If you are the subject of a complaint, we hope, however, that any concern or misunderstanding can be resolved by discussion with the GP or member of staff concerned.

Complaints about Patients can be:

  • abuse (verbal or physical) of GPs or Staff or other Patients;
  • abuse of prescribing;
  • theft or fraud;
  • Patients failing to keep appointments;
  • Patients refusal to abide by Practice procedures in obtaining treatment / care;
  • Damage to Surgery premises including graffiti and inappropriate use of toilet areas;

This list is not exhaustive.

Further help in Complaining

If Patients feel that their complaint has not been  heard or dealt with satisfactorily they may approach any of the following;

The Ombudsman
Mr Tom Frawley
Northern Ireland Ombudsman
Freepost BEL 1478
Freephone: 0800 34 34 24

Health and Social Care Board
Complaints Office
HSC Board Headquarters
12-22 Linenhall Street
Tel: 9032 1313

Belfast HSC Trust
Complaints Office
Glendinning House
6 Murray Street
Tel:  9032 7156

Patient and Client Council
Ist Floor
Lesley House
25-27 Wellington Place
Freephone: 0800 917 0222


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