In line with our commitment to continually improve the quality of clinical care and service provided to our patients we have recently completed our annual review of complaints (March 2016). Complaints are few and we seek resolution as soon as possible according to our complaints policy. The annual meeting is attended by clinical and administrative staff and as a team we analyse each case allowing us all to reflect on our practice and learn to improve patient experience and care.
From March 2015 to March 2016, the Practice received 21 complaints compared to 16 in 2014-2015. Eight complaints related to organisational and eight to medical matters. Four that had come through our complaints procedures did not relate to care delivered by our team, but were analysed for learning and fed onwards to the appropriate organisation. One complaint is ongoing at the time of writing.
Confidentiality prevents publication of specific details but 15 of the complaints relating to our organisation have been resolved internally to the satisfaction of the patients involved. One matter was dealt with externally and, after a full investigation by NHS England, they concluded that Our Practice was without fault.
Any individual criticism is/has been/will be reflected on via the formal annual appraisal of clinicians and appraisal of colleagues systems. No one clinician or colleague is disproportionally represented. Our review did not identify the need for practice procedural or policy changes. A main learning point is that we will continue to strive to make things work for our patients without allowing processes to needlessly get in the way. Effective two-way communication remains pivotal to avoiding problems or getting them resolved.
Of note, we will try to let patients know when clinicians are running late. We would also ask for understanding from our patients when clinicians run late because of circumstances beyond their control. Late running is very often because a patient needs more time for their problem to be dealt with compassionately and effectively than a 10 minute slot allows.
We welcome and encourage patient and carer feedback (‘Catch a Comment’ and your patient participation group for example). You can now apply to join our ‘virtual patient group ‘ if you are unable to join us at the meetings. Please get involved with the decisions that affect you or those that you care for. In this time of change for general practice and unprecedented demand for the service, we hope that we can continue work with you to meet your and our own very high expectations of what we do for you. Thank you for your continued support.