Complaints Policy & Procedure

Patient Information

At Birchwood Medical Practice we make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our practice.  However, we are aware that things can go wrong resulting in a patient feeling they have a genuine cause for complaint.  If this is so we would wish for the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.

We are continually striving to improve our service. We appreciate that people often do not like to complain, but assure you we do want to know if you are not satisfied. If you have a comment, complaint or suggestion, please tell any member of staff who will assist you. We have a campaign that we believe in called “You Said, We Listened, We Took Action” which is committed to ongoing service improvement.


Receiving of complaints
Who can complain? The Practice may receive a complaint made by, or (with his/her consent) on behalf of a patient, or former patient, who is receiving or has received treatment at the Practice, or:

(a) Where the patient is a child:

  • by either parent, or in the absence of both parents, the guardian or other adult who has care of the child;
  • by a person duly authorised by a local authority to whose care the child has been committed under the provisions of the Children Act 1989;

(b) Where the patient is incapable of making a complaint; by a relative or other adult who has an interest in his/her welfare.

Your complaint does not have to be in writing. Access to being able to make a complaint is important and ensures that we are receiving feedback as easily as possible.

Please ask our staff member to take the details of your complaint if you are making it verbally.


What is the time limit for making a complaint?
The period for making a complaint is normally:

(a) 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint occurred; or

(b) 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint comes to the complainant’s notice.


To whom should I complain initially?
If you are unhappy with our services please tell a member of our staff.  Often the problem can be sorted out straight away.  We aim to resolve informal complaints within 48 hours.

If you prefer not to talk to the member of staff involved in your care, you can contact the Practice Manager. You can make a complaint digitally through our website – Please click here to ensure our Management Team receives your complaint.

Alternatively, you can telephone or write to the Customer Contact Centre of NHS England.  The address and telephone number can be found below.  Please note the Customer Contact Team will only deal with a complaint if it has not been reviewed by the practice

  • Tel: 0300 311 22 33
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Post: NHS Commissioning Board, PO Box 16728, Redditch, B97 9PT


NHS Procedure
We will acknowledge your formal verbal or written complaint within three working days and offer you the opportunity to meet face to face to discuss your concern.

We will also ask you what you would like to happen as a result of your complaint, for example, an apology, a new appointment or an explanation. We try whenever possible to speak to you directly about your concerns and may arrange to meet with you to hear first hand your experience.

We will then agree a plan of action and decide upon the timescales in which we will respond to your complaint.

Your complaint will be fully investigated.  This involves finding out what has happened by talking to staff involved and taking any necessary action.

If it is not possible to deal with your complaint within the period agreed, we will write to you explaining the reason for the delay.  The sooner you make a complaint the easier it is to investigate and the more likely it is the complaint can be resolved.


If you are not satisfied with our response
If you remain unhappy following our response, you can complain to the Health Service Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is completely independent of the NHS and Government. You can:

  • Visit their ‘Making a complaint page’ to complain online or download a paper form
  • Call their Customer Helpline on 0345 015 4033 from 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday
  • Send a text to their ‘call back’ service 07624 813005
  • Dial their textphone (minicom) 0300 061 4298


Keeping your complaint confidential
Any personal data and information collected in relation to your concern or complaint is treated as strictly confidential and only made available to people who are involved in the investigation.

Information about the nature of the complaint is used to monitor the quality of care and may be followed up with the professionals concerned where problems are identified.

The fact that you have complained will not be recorded on your medical records.




Some patient’s may find it difficult to make a complaint directly to the Practice or to the NHS.  They can seek advice or get support from the following:

1. Healthwatch is the local champion for patients and the public. They are there to listen to your feedback, and to make sure that local services know what people expect from them. They also want to hear about times when you have experienced excellent care.

Healthwatch Bristol—0117 2690400
Or you can text them (use ‘Bris’ followed by your message) to: 07860021603

2. SEAP (Support Empower Advocate Promote)

Free confidential help and support to make a complaint-
Contact SEAP on: 0300 3435704
Text: 80800 keyword SEAP
Email: [email protected]