Stage 1: Local investigation and resolution – most complaints are resolved through this process. The steps have been outlined earlier in this tutorial.
In most units, the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) or equivalent service co-ordinates the reception and investigation of a complaint and the communication of the findings to the patient.
Stage 2: If the local process does not resolve the issues, patients in the UK can take their complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
Who can complain?
- Current or former patients, or their nominated representatives (e.g. relatives)
- Patients aged over 16 with mental capacity
- Children under the age of 16 if they can make their own complaint and are capable to do so.
Complaints provide an opportunity for self-reflection by staff.
Carers should consider why a patient is complaining, what went wrong and how individuals or teams can do better or differently next time.
Complaints should also help drive learning at an organisational level, and it is important that complaints affect practice. For this to occur, it is vital to have a culture that encourages learning, accountability and continual improvement within the organisation.