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Date: 12 December 2018

Time: 17:26

How to make a complaint

Introduction

We value and respect the views of everyone who has reason to use our services. If you are unhappy with any aspect of your experience, either as a patient or a relative/carer, we want to know about it. We are keen to learn from you so that we can take action when things have gone wrong and improve what we do in the future. Making a complaint will not affect your treatment.

Who can complain?

  • Current or past patients of the Trust
  • Representatives of patients (e.g. relatives, friends or carers) acting with their consent
  • People acting on behalf of deceased patients, acting with the consent of the patient's next of kin

When can I complain?

  • You should make your complaint as soon as possible after the event
  • No later than 12 months after the event, or the date when you became aware of the problem (if later)

How do I complain?

  • You should always try to let the person delivering the service or their manager know that you are unhappy, so they can put things right at the time whenever possible
  • We understand that you may not always feel comfortable doing this. You can instead speak to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS (contact details below) can help to sort out problems on your behalf
  • If you are still unhappy you can contact the Complaints Department, who can investigate your concerns under the NHS Complaints Regulations (2009). You can make your complaint orally, electronically or in writing (see Contact PALS page below)

What happens when I complain?

  • A member of the Complaints Department (contact details below) will contact you to discuss your concerns, advise on the best way to deal with them and discuss how long this is likely to take
  • It may be that a telephone call from the manager in charge of the service can sort out your problems, or you may want an apology. You may want a meeting to talk about your concerns or you may want a full investigation and a written response. We can arrange any of these or other possible solutions for you
  • We will keep you updated on what is happening and agree with you the best way to do this (telephone/email/letter)
  • We will try to make the process as easy as possible. We will also give you details of the NHS Complaints Advocacy Service (contact details below). This is a free, confidential service, which is independent of the Trust. They can help you make the complaint and support you throughout the process, including attending meetings with you
  • If you have particular requirements or a disability we can find ways of providing you with the help and information you need

How long will this take?

  • We will contact you within three working days of receiving your complaint. We will always try to telephone you, but if we cannot reach you we will write to you
  • We will agree a reasonable timescale with you to give us enough time to respond to your complaint in the way agreed
  • If it looks like we cannot get back to you by the date we agreed, we will contact you to explain why this is and let you know when we will be in touch again

How will you get back to me?

  • When we first get in touch with you we will agree how we will respond to your complaint. This may be by a telephone call from another department, a meeting with senior staff or a letter following a formal investigation
  • We will keep you updated with progress, using the means agreed during our initial contact (telephone, email or letter)

What if I'm not satisfied?

  • If you are not happy with how your complaint has been handled, please let us know. We can agree some other ways of dealing with your concerns. For instance, if you've had a response by letter we can set up a meeting to talk about the things you are still unhappy about
  • We will always try to find ways to resolve your concerns within the Trust. However, if we have tried all reasonable means of resolving your concerns and you are still dissatisfied you can request a review by the Ombudsman (contact details below)

Tips on making a complaint in British Sign Language (BSL)

The video below, created by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), contains tips and guidance on how to make a complaint in BSL.

NHS Constitution

The NHS Constitution brings together a number of rights, pledges and responsibilities for staff and patients alike. See the Department of Health website for further information (see link below).

Contact details

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Telephone: 0121 371 4400
Email: pals@uhb.nhs.uk

Complaints Department

Complaints Department
46F Nuffield House
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Birmingham, B15 2TH
Email: Complaints@uhb.nhs.uk

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
Millbank
London, SW1P 4QP
Telephone: 0345 015 4033
Email: phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk

NHS Complaints Advocacy Service

VoiceAbility
Mount Pleasant House
Huntingdon Road
Cambridge
CB3 0RN

Telephone: 0300 330 5454
Email: nhscomplaints@voiceability.org

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