How to deal with complaints.

Having raised a few complaints myself and seen different approaches t ‘dealing’ with them this is my take on the process.

1. A complaint can be in any form. A tweet, Letter, Email do not require the complaint to be on an official form. You do not require complements to be on an official form.

1.1 Do NOT ask for a confidentiality agreement to be signed. This looks as if you have something to hide. Meeting should be open and honest.

2. Before any face-2-face meeting agree the basis for the complaint I.e. Date/Times, Who, What, Why & When

3. Research try and have all relevant documents to hand I.e. Time sheet, Medical notes.
Briefly read over this research, high-light any errors or counter arguments to the complaint.

4. If the complaint refers to a member of staff try and get a statement from this member of staff.
Be aware if the member of staff is still looking after the patient not to be try and be broad with times you don’t want to identify the patient.

4.1 Witness try and get witness statements again try and be broad with times. You don’t want to identify either the patient or member of staff.

5. When you have everything have a face-2-face meeting, this should be somewhere the person making the complaint feels comfortable. I.e. Their home.

6. Be open and Honest about what happened and what you are going to do about it, this might be re-training staff or changing procedures.
Invite the person to overview / oversee the new procedure and get their feedback.Writing a procedure and being subjected to one are very different things.

7. Take minutes / notes and make sure to send these within a few day of your face-2-face meeting. Include any additional information you did not have to hand.
Make sure the person know they can contact i.e. CQC. If they are still unhappy.
Make sure they are aware of procedures for things like access to medical records and freedom of information.

Remember: You can’t please everyone but doing the right thing and learning from your mistakes,is a start. And who can ask for more than that?


Complaints do not always fit neatly into a category. As such your response can not alway be laid out in advanced. You can never predict everything so
don’t try, you will go mad. Your policy has to be dynamic in its response.
It should have clear steps to update to person making the complaint on the progress of your findings.


The NHS needs a new complaint system! the current one is far to complex and dose not insure “lessons learned” are implemented.

My view.
Firstly a complaint system should by default uphold the complaint.

This way missing records can’t be used as an excuse for an incomplete investigation.

In my view a complete impartial external investigation is not possible. There however should be a ‘pool’ of qualified people 3 indecent people should be chosen from this ‘pool’ to investigate the complaint.

Published by

Daniel McMorrow

40 Year old disabled geek,

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