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Complaints Policy

1. Background

1.1. Uphill Village Osteopaths is committed to providing a high-quality experience for all our patients and continually strives to improve and surpass our patients expectations. There may be times when we do not meet our expected standards, and if this is the case, we want to hear about it, deal with the situation as quickly as possible and put measures in place to stop it happening again.

2. Purpose

2.1. The policy sets out the procedures for making complaints about Uphill Village Osteopaths, and how these complaints will be handled.

2.2. Further, the policy ensures that a framework is in place for ensuring that complaints are handled in a timely, fair and proportionate manner.

3. Scope

3.1. Who can raise a complaint?

3.1.1. Anyone can make a formal complaint to Uphill Village Osteopaths.

3.2. Policy Coverage

3.2.1. This policy covers all issues relating to services or acts of Uphill Village Osteopaths.

3.2.2. Data subject access requests and other requests that relate to individual rights under data protection law will be referred to the Data Protection Officer (DPO). Complaints raised to Uphill Village Osteopaths which include a data protection element are managed by the DPO.

4. Policy Statements

4.1. Uphill Village Osteopaths takes all complaints seriously and treats all complainants and their concerns with respect and, where necessary, confidentiality.

4.2. Uphill Village Osteopaths will provide an acknowledgement of any complaint within 3 working days of receipt of the complaint. This will include an expected timescale for responding.

4.3. Uphill Village Osteopaths will endeavour to provide a full and formal response to complaints within 21 working days of receipt. Where we are unable to do so, the reasons for this and an updated timescale will be provided.

4.4. Where appropriate, a summary of complaints and the responses will be shared with the principal Osteopath.

5. Definitions

5.1. What is a formal complaint?

5.1.1. Uphill Village Osteopaths defines a formal complaint as an expression of dissatisfaction with the acts or services of Uphill Village Osteopaths which is received by post or email and requires a formal response.

5.1.2. Complaints received via telephone may be considered to be a formal complaint and handled using the procedures in this policy at the discretion of the Clinic Director.

5.1.3. If a person making a complaint requires assistance to do so, they can contact the clinic reception on 01934 641639.

6. Roles & Responsibilities

6.1. The Clinic Director has overall responsibility for ensuring this policy is adhered to and complaints are managed accordingly.

6.2. The Clinic Director is responsible for communicating this policy and the reports that are produced for senior management that detail the number and level of issues raised with the organisation in any given period.

6.3. The Clinic Director is responsible for the logging, management and responses to complaints and coordinating any investigation or action in relation to complaints made.

7. Monitoring

7.1. This policy will be reviewed every three years by the management team to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

7.2. The policy will be updated outside of these timescales should there be a significant change in any relevant legislation or Uphill Village Osteopaths rules and operating procedures.

8. Interdependencies & Related Policies

8.1. The following related policies should be used in conjunction with this policy;

8.1.1. Uphill Village Osteopaths Disciplinary Policy & Procedures

8.1.3. Uphill Village Osteopaths Safeguarding Policies

9. Impact Assessments

9.1. The policy has undergone Data Protection and Equality Impact assessment screening. Amendments are being made to Privacy Notices to address data protection requirements.

 

10. Procedures

10.1. How to make a complaint:

10.1.1. All complaints should be made in writing either by emailing adam@uphillvillageosteopaths.co.uk, by letter addressed for the attention of the Clinic Director and sent to Uphill Village Osteopaths, 66 Uphill Way, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset BS23 4TN or by using our Contact Us form on the Uphill Village Osteopaths website.

10.1.2. Complaints received via telephone may be treated as a formal complaint at the discretion of the Clinic Director. The complainant will be informed of this and the policy and procedures here will apply.

10.1.3. Those who require assistance to make a complaint can request this through the reception team on 01934 641639. The Reception Team can also be reached via email info@uphillvillageosteopaths.co.uk

10.2. What information is required when making a complaint?

10.2.1. When raising a complaint with Uphill Village Osteopaths, the following information is required;

10.2.2. The complainant’s name

10.2.3. The nature and details of the complaint (including as much detail as possible, for example dates of occurrence, times, other people involved, location of the issue).

10.3. Assistance with the complaints process

10.4. Where a Complainant, Respondent or other party requires adjustments to enable them to participate fairly in any aspect of the complaints process, the Clinic Director will consult with the individual and, where considered reasonable, will ensure appropriate adjustments are made.

Acknowledgement of complaints

10.4.1. All complaints will be acknowledged via email within 3 working days of receipt.

10.5. A complaint may be referred to a third-party organisation where:

10.5.1. The complaint does not fall under the jurisdiction of Uphill Village Osteopaths; or

10.5.2. Where a complaint is considered to relate to a service that is provided jointly by Uphill Village Osteopaths and a third-party organisation and following consultation with the third-party organisation, it is agreed that they are better placed to respond to the complaint.

10.6. Response to a complaint

10.6.1. Uphill Village Osteopaths will provide a formal response to complaints within 21 working days of receipt of the initial complaint.

10.6.2. Where it is not possible to provide a response within this timescale, the complainant will be informed in writing of the reasons for the delay and the current timescales for providing the response.

10.7. Confidentiality and data protection

10.7.1. Any information you provide about your complaint will be securely stored on the relevant System and, where appropriate, a case file.

10.7.2. Information relating to your complaint that has been is provided in confidence will not be disclosed to any third parties without your permission, unless there is an overriding justification, for example where failure to disclose would put others at significant risk of harm or we are required to under our obligations in law. However, if your complaint relates to any third parties, you should be aware that this may make it difficult for us to investigate and resolve your complaint without disclosing the nature of your complaint.

10.7.1 Any personal data provided in connection with a complaint will be processed in accordance with data protection laws. Further information about how we use your personal data is provided in our privacy notice.

10.7.2. We will hold information about your complaint for seven years after the complaint is resolved in line with the Uphill Village Osteopaths retention periods. We will review any request for erasure of data and will comply unless there are any specific circumstances where the right to erasure does not apply.

10.8. Escalation of Complaints

10.8.1. Once the formal response has been provided, if the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome, they can request the complaint be escalated to the second stage of the complaint process. 10.8.2. Should a complainant wish to do this, they should respond to the formal outcome within 14 days of the date of delivery setting out the reasons for the request.

10.8.3. Upon receipt, the Clinic Manager will pass the case file, any associated documents and the contact from the complainant to the Clinic Director.

10.8.4. The Clinic Director will review the initial complaint, any investigation or enquiries carried out by the Clinic Manager or any third-party and the initial response provided. Following this, they will provide a further formal response.

10.8.5. Once this second stage response has been provided, there is no further escalation or appeals process, except where the complaint is relating to an Osteopath. Further complaints regarding an Osteopath can be escalated to the appropriate governing body;

General Osteopathic Council Regulation Department 020 7357 6655 or email regulation@osteopathy.org.uk.

10.9. Handling Persistent Complainants and Vexatious Complaints

10.9.1. If a complaint is considered to be vexatious and/or the behaviour of a complainant is overly persistent, and/or making disproportionate demands on time and resources, the Clinic Director will determine a course of action from the following:

10.9.2. Try to resolve the issue in accordance with these procedures, by contacting the individual in writing to explain the difficulties and to set out a preferred method of behaviour for the parties involved. This may, for example include requiring the complainant to communicate in a certain way e.g. in writing or with a specific individual, limit the frequency of communications and electronically diverting communications to a specific individual

10.9.3. Decline contact with the complainant or restrict contact to a specific format

10.9.4. Notify the complainant in writing that the complaint has been fully responded to and there is nothing further to add; continuing contact will serve no useful purpose and that further correspondence will be acknowledged but not answered

10.9.5. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to instruct legal proceedings to deter the individual from further contact

10.9.6. Due regard should be given to whether the complainant has a disability, health condition or personal circumstances that may have a bearing on the complaining behaviour. In the interests of fairness, any relevant personal circumstances should be considered fully when determining an appropriate course of action.

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