Feedback & Complaints Policy
As a London Medical Laboratory client your feedback is essential in helping us to continue to improve the services that we provide.
We will strive to provide a response to all feedback provided by clients within 48hrs of receipt and will work to fully resolve any complaints raised promptly.
We take any complaints very seriously.
Firstly we strive to provide laboratory services in a way that does not generate complaints however when there are occasions that our systems are overwhelmed or fail in some way to meet the expectations of our clients we will do our best to find a satisfactory conclusion to any inconvenience or any other problem we may have caused you by not providing what you expected from us.
Please don't ever hesitate to get in touch if there is anything that has disappointed you in the way we carry out our service to you. The best way to get in touch with us is by phone at 020 7183 3718 and/or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively you may write to us at:
Feedback - The CQC Manager
London Medical Laboratory
2 Pensbury Street
In the interests of candour we have included our entire complaints policy here:
This policy outlines procedures and responsibilities within London Medical Laboratory Limited ("the Company ") for handling any concerns, issues or complaints that may arise.
2. PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES
The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that any complaints or concerns by patients are correctly managed.
London Medical Laboratory Limited (LML), although an independent body aspires to meet the principles set out in the NHS Constitution which are:
- The right to have any complaint made about services dealt with efficiently and to have it properly investigated.
- The right to know the outcome of any investigation into a complaint.
- The right to take a complaint to independent review if the complainant is not satisfied with the way their complaint has been dealt with by us
- The commitment to ensure patients are treated with courtesy and receive appropriate support throughout the handling of a complaint; and the fact that they have complained will not adversely affect their future treatment.
- When mistakes happen, they shall be acknowledged; an apology made; an explanation given of what went wrong; and the problem rectified quickly and effectively.
- Demonstrating a commitment to ensure that the organisation learns lessons from complaints and claims and uses these to improve our services.
- This policy serves to indicate how issues concerning patient concerns or complaints should be managed within the Company.
3. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The CQC Registered Manager holds overall responsibility for ensuring the development, implementation and operation of this policy regarding complaints. The Registered Manager will also lead and oversee the process of the implementation of this policy, as well as monitoring its compliance and effectiveness.
The CQC Registered Manager will act as the designated complaints manager for the Company. S(he) is:
- Responsible for managing the procedures for handling and considering complaints.
- Responsible for ensuring that action is taken, if necessary, in light of the outcome of a complaint or investigation.
- Responsible for the effective management of the complaint’s procedure.
London Medical Laboratory Limited will:
- publicise for patients how any complaints can be made, and also how any concerns or issues can be raised. This will primarily be done through the company website since it serves as the primary portal for service users. Complaints procedures will also be communicated through other means, such as patient information letters/leaflets.
- aim to resolve any concerns or issues without recourse to the need to make use of the formal complaints policy whenever possible.
- acknowledge receipt of a complaint and offer to discuss the matter with the complainant within three working days.
- deal efficiently with complaints and investigate them appropriately.
- write to the complainant on completion of any investigation explaining how it has been resolved, what appropriate action has been taken and what options are available should the complainant be dissatisfied by the handling of the complaint.
- indicate that recourse to independent arbitration or mediation can be made by a complainant if they are still unhappy.
- assist the complainant in following the complaints procedure or provide advice on where they may obtain such assistance.
If a complaint is made orally and is resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction within 24 hours, it need not be responded to formally.
Complainants must always be made aware that they have the right, should they so wish, to make a complaint formal.
6.1. Period within which complaints can be made
The period for making a complaint is normally:
- 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint occurred; or
- 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint comes to the complainant's notice.
The Company has discretion to vary this time limit if appropriate. i.e. where there is good reason for not making the complaint sooner, or where it is still possible to properly investigate the complaint despite extended delay.
When considering an extension to the time limit it is important that the CQC Registered Manager takes into consideration that the passage of time may prevent an accurate recollection of events by the staff members concerned or by the person bringing the complaint. The collection of evidence, clinical guidelines or other resources relating to the time when the complaint event arose may also be difficult to establish or obtain. These factors may be considered as suitable reason for declining a time limit extension.
6.2. Action upon receipt of a complaint
Complaints may be received either verbally or in writing.
Wherever possible, complainants should be directed to reception to file a complaint. All verbal complaints, i.e. those made either in person or via telecommunications, must be logged using the Telephone Log sheet available to all customer facing staff.
All written complaints submitted electronically should go to email@example.com, where they can be reviewed by the CQC Manager. The CQC manager is required to check this inbox every working day.
Complaints submitted via post, must also be brought directly to the CQC managers attention. Where a delegate or representative has been appointed and named, they may be notified in place of the CQC manager.
All formal complaints should be brought to the immediate attention of the CQC manager except where a named delegate has been appointed. In this case the named delegate should be made immediately aware of any and all complaints.
The CQC Registered Manager (or his/her named delegate) must:
i. Acknowledge the complaint within 3 working days verbally or in writing and at the same time,
- offer to discuss the complaint, at a time to be agreed with the complainant
- decide, in accordance with the complainant the manner in which the complaint is to be handled (i.e. formally or informally),
- complete, in the case of formal complaints, a preliminary investigation and provide a response to the complainant within 28 days, in line with CQC requirements. Any delays will require a satisfactory explanation (please refer to CQC website for more information).
ii. From the discussion, a complaint action plan should be developed.
6.3 Complaints Against the CQC Manager
Any complaints filed against the CQC manager (or his/her named delegate) should go directly to the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The e-mail address for the CEO can be found on the company website. The CEO will take the lead in dealing with the complaint by following this document and conducting any investigations pertaining to the complaint in place of the CQC manager. The CEO reserves the right to delegate the task of investigation to an appropriate member of senior management. Under no circumstances can the task be delegated to the CQC manager.
6.4 Complaints Action Plan
If the complainant does not accept the offer of a verbal discussion in an effort to resolve matters, the CQC Registered Manager or someone delegated to act on his/her behalf will notify the complainant in writing of the time period (28 days) within which a response can be expected. If a clear plan and a realistic outcome can be agreed with the complainant from the start, the issue is more likely to be resolved satisfactorily. Having a plan will help the Company to respond appropriately. It also gives the person who is complaining more confidence that the Company is taking their concerns seriously. If someone makes a complaint, the person making the complaint will want to know what is being done and when. However, accurately gauging how long an issue may take to resolve can be difficult, especially if it is a complex matter involving more than one person or organisation. To help judge how long a complaint might take to resolve, it is important to:
- address the concerns raised as quickly as possible
- stay in regular contact with whoever has complained to update them on progress
- follow closely any agreements made – and, if for any reason this is not possible, then explain why.
In any case, the upper limit for a complaint to be dealt with is 28 days.
6.5 Investigation and Responses to Complaints
During the investigation, the complainant will be kept informed of progress either verbally or in writing as agreed with the complainant.
The target date for investigating and responding to a written complaint is 3 days. The response must be signed by the CQC Registered Manager and include:
- an explanation of how the complaint has been considered;
- the conclusions reached in relation to the complaint, including any remedial action to be taken details of how to seek arbitration or mediation if the complainant remains dissatisfied.
6.6 Grading of a Complaint
Complaints will be investigated in the first instance by the Administrator Lead who will contact the patient with 48hrs of being notified about a complaint. The Complaints Lead will be notified immediately and all communication will include the Complaints Lead. If the complaints lead is unable to resolve the issue it shall be referred up the chain of management (i.e. CEO and/or Medical Director) as necessary to reach a satisfactory outcome for the complainant with the complainant been informed of a new timeline for resolution.
When the complaint is first received it will be graded as follows:
- Level 1 – simple error being handled by Administration Lead
- Level 2 – complaint escalated to Complaints Lead
- Level 3 – complaint escalated to CEO and/or Medical Director
- Level 4 – complaint escalated to CQC or equivalent ombudsman
6.7 Escalation of a Complaint
The following routes will be open to patients in the event that a complaint cannot be satisfactorily resolved directly with the Company, or by the CEO or Medical Director.
i. Patients can contact the Health Service Ombudsman in the following ways:
- By phoning 0345 015 4033 (textphone 0300 061 4298 for people who are deaf or have problems using a standard phone).
- By sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By texting ‘call back’, with your name and mobile number, to 07624 813 005. Someone will then call you.
- By writing to: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4Q
ii. NHS patients can refer the matter to the local Commissioning Body (e.g. Clinical Commissioning Group) or the Department Of Health/Secretary Of State For Health.
iii. Seeking assistance from the Patients Association. This is a national health care charity that highlights patients’ concerns and needs. It provides advice aimed at helping people to get the best out of their health care and tells patients where they can get more information and advice. Contact the Patients Association’s helpline on 0845 608 4455 or visit: www.patients- association.org.uk.
v. Contact the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services (IHAS).
IHAS is an organisation that represents many independent health care organisations. It has a code of practice for its members on dealing with patients’ complaints, and it can look into your complaint if you are unhappy with the response you have received from a service. For their contact details, visit their website at www.independenthealthcare.org.uk
vi. Contact the Citizens Advice Service
Citizens Advice provides free, confidential and independent advice from over 3,000 locations, including in their bureaux, GP surgeries, hospitals, colleges, prisons and courts. Advice is available face-to-face and by phone. Contact details are here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/contact-us/
The operation and effectiveness of this policy will be incorporated into the Company’s ongoing audit programme. As required, anonymised summaries of complaints will be provided to the Care Quality Commission upon request.
8. DUTY OF CANDOUR
If the complaint is a notifiable incident, as per the Duty of Candour Policy and Procedure, we shall follow that procedure as indicated.
All complaints will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of the patient's medical records, the CQC Registered Manager or someone designated to act on his/her behalf will inform the patient or person acting on his/her behalf if the investigation may involve disclosure of information contained in those records to a person other than the company, or an employee/contractor working for the organisation.
10. UNREASONABLE / VEXACIOUS COMPLAINTS
Where a complainant becomes aggressive or, despite effective complaint handling, unreasonable in their promotion of the complaint, some or all of the following formal provisions will apply and will be communicated to the patient:
- The complaint will be managed by one named individual at senior level who will be the only contact for the patient (typically the CQC manager)
- Contact will be limited to one method only (i.e. in writing)
- Place a time limit on each contact
- The number of contacts in a time period will be restricted
- A witness may be privy to all contacts
- Repeated complaints about the same issue will be refused
- Correspondence regarding a closed matter, will only be acknowledged and not otherwise responded to
- Set behaviour standards (e.g. use of vulgarity will not be tolerated).
- Return any irrelevant documentation
- Keep detailed records of all communications.