When providing a service, customer complaints can be expected if dealing with large numbers. The average practitioner will see up to 41 patients per day, these high figures mean it is highly unlikely that your practice will go a month without at least one complaint. Although complaints can be expected with everything from patient waiting times through to diagnostic based disagreements, it’s how you deal with them that really matters.

The Government Guidelines

The typical NHS complaints procedure provides local medical committees, practices and clinicians the guidance they require in order to deal with complaints efficiently. Each practice has its own Complaints Procedure Policy in place, these documents can be sourced via the Practice Manager.

The NHS complaints procedure states that complaints are to be dealt with in a manner that suits your practice, while also ensuring patients are aware of how to have their opinions heard should they need to. It is strongly advised within the policy that practices must provide a discreet forum in which patients can provide positive or negative feedback and be aware of how the procedure works. Each practice will have a “nominated complaints person “whose job it is to ensure the surgery is working within the current complaints’ regulations in accordance with the NHS. Within many practices the” nominated complaints person “is often the practice manager who will oversee the general running of the practice and ensure patient satisfaction.

When a complaint is made directly to the practice; it is the practice’s responsibility to ensure this complaint is dealt with efficiently and to NHS complaints regulations. This is a contractual agreement and any neglect towards complaints will be seen as a breach of contract, this is why it is imperative complaints are dealt with urgently. We look into complaints procedures and give you tips on how to deal with them as effectively as possible.

What do AppLocum Advise

If you have placed one of our Locums within your surgery it can be difficult to understand how to deal with negative feedback regarding the Locum clinician. Negative feedback regarding a Locum should be dealt with in the same way you would a permanent clinician. We welcome all feedback and welcome any advice on changes that can be made, this is why we deal with all complaints efficiently in house and ensure you receive the best customer service. So how do you deal with a Locum complaint through AppLocum?

  • Ensure we know!
    It is important to let us know as soon as you receive any negative feedback, comments or complaints. If the feedback is concerning to you or you feel this is something, we need to feedback to the Locum to help their practice, you must let us know. We recommend making us aware of the feedback within a 24-hour period, ideally at the end of the shift as soon as you receive a catch-up call from the relevant recruitment advisor.
  • Get as much information as possible
    We love to improve and make changes where necessary. Our recruitment advisors will need a detailed insight into the complaint, this is to ensure we have all the facts completely correct before dealing with the complaint. The best way to ensure all details are logged correctly is to make notes while receiving the complaint or ask the patient to lodge their complaint in writing. All information gathered must be shared with our team in order to deal with the complaint to the highest standard.
  • Speak to the right person!
    The best people to speak to within the AppLocum team are either HR or the Head of recruitment. If you feel the complaint needs to be investigated further from our end we advise you speak with a manager to ensure this is done. If you feel the feedback received is not serious you may feel this can be dealt with between your recruitment advisor and the clinician. It is imperative you speak with the right person to ensure the outcome is right for the severity of the complaint.
  • Lodge the complaint correctly
    We understand that it may be easier to discuss the complaint via a conversation over the phone, however, we will always advise that you send any feedback or complaints via email to ensure this is logged correctly with our team. It is imperative we have a clear paper-trail for all client correspondence, therefor always follow up phone calls regarding complaints and negative feedback with an email to cover your back and ensure we have everything we need to deal with the situation effectively.

How do we Deal with Complaints?

We take all feedback and complaints very seriously. AppLocum have a very effective complaints procedure in place and no matter the severity of the complaint, we will always look into the matter with urgency. Our Head of Recruitment and HR team will investigate further and ensure improvements are put in place. We look into;

  • What?
    On receipt of a complaint We look into what the complaint entails and how this came about. Who is involved is imperative, this is why you must always include the clinicians full name and as much detail as possible about the events leading up to the complaint when lodging the with our team, Sending the details of the complaint via email will ensure we look into every aspect of the complaint fully before putting investigating and putting actions into place.
  • How?
    We discuss with clinicians and anyone else involved in the complaint to see how the complaint or negative feedback came about and always check the facts. We gain an understanding of the Locum shift and the situation surrounding the complaint from all aspects.
  • Make the Change
    Once we have gathered all the information and completed enquiries, to the point we can confidently say “this was the root cause” We then look into how we can ensure all parties involved are fed back to efficiently and any opportunities for improvement are realised and put in to action to ensure best practice from lessons learnt and a repeat of the issue does not occur again.

We pride ourselves on our response to any issue’s practices face and appreciate any feedback we receive. If you have a complaint or any feedback concerning any of our Locums, feel free to contact our friendly team for further advice and guidance.

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