Due to the coronavrius (COVID-19) pandemic, staff are currently prioritising patient care due to the demands on our service. As a result, complaints may take longer than usual to resolve.
Do you have a concern?
If there's something you're unhappy with relating to your care and treatment, we'd like to know about it so that we can try to put matters right. Listening to our patients is very important to us and learning from the experience of patients or service users is something we are committed to. We believe that every complaint is an opportunity for us to better understand and improve the quality of our services.
We know that people worry about the impact making a complaint may have on their care (or the care of someone close to them). We pledge that making a complaint will never adversely affect anyone's treatment.
If you have a concern or complaint you can raise it in several ways.
Talking it through
If you are concerned about your care, or any of the services provided, please speak to a member of staff on the ward or in the department. You should always try to let the person delivering the service or their manager know that you are unhappy, so they can try to put things right for you.
If you're staying in hospital or visiting an inpatient
Talk to the ward sister or nurse in charge who will be wearing a distinctive red armband. He/she will listen to your concerns, agree what actions should be taken and update you on progress as required.
If your concern is not resolved to your satisfaction, you can request to speak to the matron (purple uniform) for the department.
If you are an outpatient
Please ask the staff at any reception area to put you in touch with an appropriate member of staff to speak to.
If you would rather talk to someone from outside the ward/department
You can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS provides support to patients, their families and visitors. Ask a member of staff to direct you to their office or telephone PALS on 020 7188 8801.
Making a complaint
We have tried to make our complaints process as accessible as possible.
You can also contact our complaints department on 020 7188 3514, email email@example.com. You can also send us your complaint using our online form.
Alternatively, you can write to the complaints team using the folowing address:
Great Maze Pond
London SE1 9RT.
Further information on the complaints process is given below.
Writing a complaint
- Ideally, all complaints should be made soon after the events you want to complain about happened. This makes it easier for everyone to remember what happened. Complaints should be made within 12 months of the date of the event.
- Please give as much information as you can, including your name, address and hospital number.
- If you are raising more than one concern, make the points clear that you would like answered. This helps the investigating team to cover all the issues you would like answered.
- You can ask a friend or relative to raise a concern or complaint on your behalf. If you do, we will ask you to sign a consent form, giving us permission to disclose your personal information to this person.
- If you want to make a complaint but are struggling, please contact the complaints team and we will advise you about the support available or offer advice to make sure your concerns are heard.
What can I expect from the complaints process?
We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days and investigate it. We may contact you by phone or email to try to speak with you to make sure we fully understand the concerns you are raising. When we begin our investigation we will let you know how long it is likely to take. We will also keep you informed of progress, and if the investigation is going to take longer than originally thought we will explain to you the reason why.
Once the investigation is complete, we will provide you with a written response explaining the outcome and conclusions of the investigation. Where our investigation has identified any service failure (occasions where our service fell below the standard to be expected) we will explain what actions we intend to take to help avoid that failure (or a similar failure) occurring again and the timescales for completing those actions.
Please be aware that the complaints process cannot look at disciplinary issues, (for example whether a staff member should be sacked), 'strike off' a health professional or suspend their registration, or look at complaints about treatment provided privately unless it was paid for by the NHS.
See also our leaflet:
Learning from complaints
As a Trust we are committed to learning and making changes resulting from complaints. As service users tell us about their experience, if we can identify an improvement or change that can improve this, we will work hard to implement this change. Some examples of learning from complaints that closed in January-March 2020.
||Patient complained they were removed from the waiting list.
||Staff to check that validation letters have been sent before removing patients from the waiting list.
||Patient complained about difficulty contacting the service.
||An email address has been created for patient to contact the service with queries.
||Patient complained about being given the wrong information about where to check in at the Cancer Centre.
||The Trust is currently reviewing and standardising letters to one model for the Cancer Centre. This should be completed by May 2020.
||Parents complained about delay in onward referral to another hospital.
||Policy has changed to now ask GP to refer on to other hospitals to prevent delays in the referral process.
||Lack of information during pre-operative assessment.
||An information leaflet for patients undergoing a mastopexy and implant exchange is being finalised for publication. Development of a standard best practice pathway to aid with communication.
||Patient complained about care during admission for a complex skin condition.
||Surgery team to maximise the involvement of specialist nurses from the epidermolysis bullosa team.
||Patient complained about a blood test not being done.
||The medical team will now be taking all possible measures to ensure that any blood tests are taken, as requested by the team. This will involve clear documentation on the patients’ medical notes. Staff are aware to escalate to senior members of the nursing/medical team if there are any issues with taking the blood tests. Staff will also need to make sure that any bloods taken, are regularly taken downstairs to the blood test centre, where they can be transferred over to the main laboratories at Guy's Hospital. This new practice has been implemented, in addition to regular safety checks for the nurse in charge to ensure the specimen box for blood tests has been collected.
What if I am still not happy?
If, after you have received our written response to your complaint, you are not satisfied you can request an independent review of your complaint.
You will need to write to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), requesting a review. You should usually take your complaint to the Ombudsman within a year of when you first became aware of the problem.
Contacting our complaints department
You can also send us your complaint using our online form.
Great Maze Pond
London SE1 9RT.
Further help and useful resources
Video tips on making a complaint
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has produced a British Sign Language video featuring tips on making a complaint to the NHS.
Support for patients with learning disabilities
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman have also produced an easy read leaflet and video on complaining.
The PHSO accessibility webpage contains useful information for people who have a learning disability or want Easy Read information.