- Speak directly. Try to resolve the issue quickly by speaking directly to the person involved. If you feel you cannot speak directly to this person ask to see their line manager or the person in charge.
- Be in control. Stay calm and present your complaint in a straight forward way.
- What do you want? Consider if what you want to do is to make a suggestion, express a concern, express dissatisfaction or to make a full complaint
- How to proceed. Do you want to do this in person, by phone or in a letter?
- Balanced and Reasoned. It can be useful when writing a complaint to also discuss the positive things about your experience as well as the negative issue at the heart of the complaint; this comes over as more balanced and reasoned.
- Ideal Outcome. Think about what the ideal outcome is from your complaint. If a verbal apology is what you are expecting say so. If you feel the matter is serious and you would like a written apology then it may be useful to write your complaint down and ask for a reply with the outcome of any action to be taken.
- Be Clear. State the nature of your complaint and if possible give examples to illustrate what you mean or evidence of what you are trying to change.You can ask for the outcome of your discussion to remain private or you can ask for the outcome to be recorded in the patients case notes/nursing/social work file..
- Who is complaining? State if you are making a complaint on behalf of the patient or on your own.
- Confidentiality. Only the patient has a right to see their own medical records unless you as the carer have a welfare power of attorney which is legally binding. This also applies to consent for treatments and procedures.
- Don’t lose your head. Avoid threatening or abusive language. This is never productive. Everyone has a right to be respected. If you are angry never resort to physical aggression. Take time out to calm yourself before you voice your complaint or write it down when you have calmed down.
- Trouble. Violent behaviour will not be tolerated and will not resolve your complaint. You will be asked to leave. If violence escalates security or police will be called.
- Taking a complaint further. NHS hospitals and social services will all have a formal complaints procedure which you have a right to access if your complaint is not resolved at local level first. This will tell you what the local procedures are and should give an indication of how long it will take for you complaint to be investigated and dealt with.
2. The hospital team
The hospital team
16) Making a complaint