Comments & Complaints

commentsIf you have any comments or criticisms of the service we provide there is an in-house complaints procedure available. Please contact the Practice Manager for further details.

We are continually striving to improve our service. Any helpful suggestions would be much appreciated.

If you have a complaint or concern about the service you have received from the doctors or any of the staff working in this Practice, please let us know.  We operate a Practice Complaints Procedure as part of a NHS wide system for dealing with complaints.  

How to complain:

We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and with the person concerned.  If your problem cannot be sorted out in this way and you wish to make a complaint, we would like you to let us know as soon as possible, ideally on the day.  This is because the sooner we know about a problem; the easier it will be for us to establish what happened.  In any event, we require the details of a complaint:

 -Within 6 months of the incident that caused the problem; or

 -Within 6 months of discovering that you have a problem, providing this is within 12 months of the incident.

To make a complaint you may contact by telephone on 028 91 452410 to speak with Mrs Charise Boal, Practice Manager who is also the Practice Complaints Officer. Alternatively you may ask for an appointment to speak with Mrs Boal to discuss your concerns.  She will explain the complaints procedure to you and will make sure that your concerns are dealt with promptly.  It will be a great help to her if you are as specific as possible about your complaint.

Complaints may also be forwarded in writing to Mrs Boal. Mrs Boal will be informed immediately when any other member of the Practice received a complaint.

Investigating Partner:

Dr Cobain has been designated to be responsible for the management of all complaints whether management or clinical.  Dr Howe will assume responsibility if the complaint is against Dr Cobain.

What we will do:

 -If a complaint is received verbally, the complaint will be received with courtesy by Mrs Boal and an initial assessment made in private.

- If the complaint is organisational it will be dealt with by the Mrs Boal when she will undertake a preliminary investigation by speaking directly to the complainant.  An apology and assurance that action will be taken, may resolve the complaint at this stage.  If not, she will talk the case through with the member of the Practice against whom the complaint has been made about to establish their recollection of events.  If the complaint is about a Practice procedure rather than an individual Mrs Boal is in a position to deal with this.

 - With a clinical complaint, Dr Cobain will undertake a preliminary investigation by speaking directly to the complainant.  This action is to establish the seriousness of the complaint and to obtain further details.  Once again a telephone conversation followed by an apology may end the matter.  If not he will talk the case through with the member of the Practice against whom the complaint has been made, to establish his/her recollection of events and clinical records examined.  The complainant will be invited to attend the surgery to discuss the matter further.

  • We will acknowledge your complaint in writing within three working days and aim to have looked into your complaint within ten working days of the date when you raised it with us. 
  • The complainant will be assured that the matter will be taken seriously, that it will receive immediate attention and that confidentiality will be observed.
  • We will find out what happened and what went wrong. We shall then be in a position to offer you an explanation, or a meeting with the people involved. 
  • We will make it possible for you to discuss the problem with those concerned, if you would like this.
  • We will make sure you receive an apology, where this is appropriate.
  • We will identify what we can do to make sure the problem does not happen again.

Principles of our Practice based complaints procedure.

  • Simple and responsive.
  • Accessible and well publicised.
  • Confidential.
  • Understood by all Practice staff so that they can advise patients on how to use it.
  • Speedy yet thorough.

Complaining on behalf of someone else:

Please note that we keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality.  If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have his or her permission to do so.  A note signed by the person concerned will be needed to authorise you to complain on their behalf.

Record Keeping

Details of the complaint and all correspondence relating to it will be kept separate to the patient’s medical records.

A copy of the complaints procedure and corresponding records can be sent to the complainant on request.

Further Information

The Practice will undertake annual audits of patient’s complaints to enable feedback to develop guidelines and procedures to reduce the incidence of complaints.

If the complainant remains dissatisfied or if they feel they cannot resolve the matter with the Practice they may seek further support and advice from the Boards Complaints Officer:

Mr Michael Curikshanks, Patient/Client Services Officer, HSCB 12-22 Linenhall Street BELFAST BT2 8SB – telephone 028 9553751

If the complaint cannot be resolved locally or if the complainant feels they wish to take the matter further they may contact the Ombudsman at:

NI Commissioner of Complaints, Progressive House, 33 Wellington Place, BELFAST BT1 6HN

Telephone: FREEPHONE 0800 343 424

The Patient Client Council can offer support for complainants if required:

Patient & Client Council, 1st Floor Ormeau Baths, BELFAST BT2 8HS

telephone FREEPHONE 0800 170 222

We hope that if you have a problem, you will use our Practice Complaints Procedure.  We believe this will give us the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and an opportunity to improve our Practice. 

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