Dunstone Optometry Complaints Procedure
If you have a complaint about any of our products or services (including NHS eye examinations), we recommended that you first discuss any problems with Derek Dunstone. This policy sets out the framework for the management of complaints within the practice. The aim of the policy is to ensure comments, concerns and complaints are resolved quickly and thoroughly with appropriate investigation. The purpose of this policy is to:
o Provide the framework for a full and thorough investigation into a complaint
o Provide the opportunity to make an apology where appropriate
o Enable a full explanation to be given to the complainant
o Facilitate learning from mistakes and generate improvement in provision of services
What is a complaint?
The Citizens’ Charter Complaints Task Force defines a complaint as ‘any expression of dissatisfaction which requires a response’. This means that letters, emails, telephone calls and face-to-face discussions of all concerns and complaints are included under this term (including those raised by MPs on behalf of their constituents). However is must be noted that:
- The Complaints Policy is not the means for dealing with financial compensation or where there is an intention to take legal action
- The Complaints Policy is not the means for dealing with staff grievances and issue. Such matters will be dealt with via Human Resources Policies and Procedures
- The Complaints Policy is not the means for dealing with disciplinary matters. If any aspect of the complaint investigation identifies a staff performance issue, the disciplinary process can be invoked and run in parallel with the complaints procedure
Who can complain?
Patients themselves or a representative e.g. family member, friend, MP or other agency who has been given consent to act on behalf of the patient, can raise complaints or concerns. If consent is in doubt, the patient will be asked to sign a consent form. In cases when NHS Suffolk seeks consent from the patient, the response time will commence from the date of receipt of consent. Complaints can be made by the next of kin about a deceased patient’s care, a child, or any patient who is unable by reason or physical or mental incapacity to make the complaint themselves. In the case of a patient who has died or who is incapable, their representative must be a relative or other person who, in the opinion of the Complaints Manager, had or has ‘sufficient interest’ in their welfare and is a suitable person to act as their representative. In the case of a child, a suitable representative would normally be a parent, guardian or other adult person who has care of the child, or one who is authorised by the Local Authority / voluntary organisation in the case of children in care.
Assistance will be given to complainants in accessing the complaints procedure. This includes providing an appropriate and acceptable response to complainants who are unable to read English or have sight or hearing difficulties.
Time limits for complaints
There is a time limit of 12 months after the date of the incident that caused the complaint, or 12 months from the date on which the matter came to the notice of the complainant. However, the time limit should not be presented as an obstacle to the investigation of the complaint. The time limit can, and should be waived if it is still practicable and possible to investigate the complaint (the records still exist and the individuals concerned are still available to be questioned) and the complainant can demonstrate reasonable cause for delay in making the complaint. It will be the decision of the Complaints Manager if the time limit can be set aside.
Who is responsible?
The proprietor Derek Dunstone is also the Complaints Manager and is responsible for ensuring that all complaints are handled in accordance with this policy. Please contact Derek Dunstone if you have any concerns regarding staff performance.
Complaints will, wherever possible, be resolved at a local level; by telephone, by a face-to-face conversation or by a short, explanatory letter. This is to ensure a speedy, efficient and satisfactory response.