1. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to define the process for the management and resolution of customer complaints. This procedure applies to customers who have accessed the service either directly or indirectly i.e. through a third party service agreement; e.g. whilst using a contracted consultant who delivers services within a clinic operated by FTT Skin Clinics (FTT). The complaint can relate to any product or part of the service delivered to the customer.

  1. Description Of Activities.

In any organisation the customer complaints process is key to allowing patients the ability to raise concerns about any element of the service.

The Clinic’s policy is to ensure that the complaints process is flexible and responsive to the needs of the individual complainant. In addition, it emphasises the need to communicate effectively with complainants and involve them in the decisions concerning the handling of their complaint. The policy seeks to ensure that:

  • Patients / Customers who complain are listened to and treated with courtesy, respect and empathy at all times.
  • Patients / Customers who complain are not disadvantaged as a result of making a complaint.
  • Complaints are investigated promptly, thoroughly, honestly and openly.
  • Complainants are kept informed of the progress and outcome of the investigation.
  • Apologies are given as appropriate.
  • Action to rectify the cause of the complaint is identified, implemented and evaluated.
  • Learning from complaints informs service development and improvement.
  • Complaints handling complies with all confidentiality and data protection policies and is transparent.
  • Staff involved in complaints are given the appropriate level of support.

There are several ways that complaints can be made and it is important to have a simple yet robust method of dealing with any compliant in any format. It is important that for any complaint the Clinic has a documented record of the complaint using the FM – 006 – Customer Complaint Form which we will use as a reference document for the initial complaint. Complete with as much information as possible and the employee completing the form should update the Complaints and Incident Log.

To comply with patient confidentiality requirements, the clinic will normally only deal directly with the patient concerned. In the event that someone else complains on behalf of a patient or the patient nominates someone else such as a family member or legal representative, then the patient will be required to complete FM – 007 – Patient Proxy Form, before any information is disclosed.

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES will the clinic disclose medical nor commercial information relating to the patient without this authority.

Note that during the investigation process the complaint file MUST be routinely up dated with details of the investigation, how it is proceeding and all communication with the customer or their representative; both written & verbal.

It is important that all documents received, sent or created during the management of the complaint are identified and stored in chronological order.

In order to manage this folder effectively a tracking spreadsheet will be reviewed and updated weekly:

Dealing with a complaint through the process:

All staff are responsible for working to resolve concerns raised by customers. Prompt action to resolve concerns can prevent them escalating into more serious complaints.

Where a complainant is reporting a poor experience within the Clinic, it is appropriate for the person receiving the complaint to apologise on behalf of the Clinic. Apologies and explanations of adverse events do not alone constitute an admission of liability.

Concerns and Observations may be raised during a patient’s visit / treatment and the customer may not wish to make these formal complaints. If staff are able to resolve them by the end of the next working day or earlier they should attempt to do this.

When dealing with a complainant staff must:

  • Ensure that they take time to listen and ensure they fully understand the concerns raised; this may mean asking for clarification where elements are unclear.
  • Reassure the customer / patient that complaints are welcome as a means of enabling the service to improve.
  • Respond to the issues raised or refer the complainant to someone who can assist them further.
  • Contact the FSD if any issue is serious and cannot be resolved by the end of the next working day.
  • The manner used to respond to concerns must never be dismissive, curt or negative. Care must be taken over the messages sent out in the first interaction as this will set the tone and often influence the likelihood of dealing with the issue and looking to repair the relationship.
  • The member of staff to whom the complaint is made is responsible for ensuring it is recorded.

Behaviour must be reasonable by all involved in this process. The actions of complainants who are angry, demanding or persistent may result in unreasonable demands of, or unacceptable behaviour towards staff. Clinic staff are not expected to tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour, but all complaints must be given equal consideration and be investigated.

If a complaint is likely to become the subject of litigation, advice will be sought from the clinic’s legal representative and or the clinic / consultant’s medical indemnity provider. This will be required prior to compiling and providing a complaint response.

If a complainant alleges discrimination of any kind, a copy should be sent to the Clinic’s legal representative for review and comment.

As per previous sections, complete and accurate records must be kept and updated in the Complaints and Incidents Folder. These must include as appropriate:

Responding to a Complaint

The response to a complaint must include a summary of the investigation findings and any actions taken to resolve the problems.

The response will include the contact details for complainants to use if they remain dissatisfied and wish to escalate.

A response to a complaint must be sent as soon as practicable. The clinic’s goal is that all complaints will be acknowledged in writing within one working day and a formal response to the complaint will be sent within twenty working days where that is practical.

Final Review:

  • On completion of the investigation, the Clinical Director will complete a final internal review of the results of the complaint investigation with the FSD, and if required, any other relevant members of staff.
  • The FSD will complete the final complaint response letter, which will be approved by the Clinical Director prior to sending.
  • If the complainant accepts the findings, the complaint will be formally closed on the Complaints record..
  • If the complainant does not accept the findings, they still have their statutory rights under law to further their complaint as they see fit.
  • If the complainant is unhappy with the handling of the complaint they may at any time contact the health care regulator to seek clarification or assistance. This can be done by contacting:

Healthcare Improvement Scotland

Independent Healthcare Team

Gyle Square

1 South Gyle Crescent

Edinburgh, EH12 9EB

Telephone:             0131 623 4342

E-Mail: hcis.clinicregulation@nhs.net


Any issues arising from a failure against these standards will be logged and reviewed by the clinic management.

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