Complaints, Comments and Compliments - How do you feel about the services you have received from East London NHS Foundation Trust?
The Trust put patients at the heart of everything we do and provide the highest standards of care. We want to hear what you think to help us improve the services we provide. We are keen to hear when things have not gone well so we can learn from your experience. It is also good to receive feedback when things have gone well so that we can build on good practice.
If you wish to make a suggestion, comment or compliment you can do this via the PALS webpage.
We welcome feedback from patients and their families when things have gone well or beyond your expectations. We will always pass your feedback onto the team. This can make our staff feel appreciated and increase job satisfaction, motivation and a sense that they have made positive difference.
Making a Complaint
If you wish to make a complaint, we promise to:
- Take you seriously
- Listen carefully
- Provide you with an explanation
- Do all we can to put things right
We acknowledge that raising a concern can be difficult, especially when you don't know who to turn to when you are unhappy about the treatment that you or somebody you care for, is receiving. If you feel able, talk to somebody directly involved, such as a nurse, social worker, care coordinator, ward manager or doctor who will make every attempt to resolve your concerns.
Care will not be adversely affected by any comments or complaints you make – in fact, it is more likely to help things improve for everyone.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
If you're unable to discuss your concerns with a member of staff, or want to discuss them with someone in confidence away from the service, you can contact the Trust's Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS staff can liaise and discuss any issues or concerns with Trust staff to negotiate quick solutions to problems or questions, usually within 48 hours. PALS staff also have information about local and national organisations who can offer advice and support.
Help and Support to make a complaint
If you wish to make a formal complaint, PALS staff can also give you information about the Trust's complaints procedure and provide support. See our information leaflet here
If you would like independent support to make a complaint about any NHS Service you can contact your local NHS Complaints Advocacy Service who can provide support and advice. Details of local NHS Complaints Advocacy Services can be found on the Trust's website.
An information leaflet giving general information on how to complain about any NHS service is also available here.
Who can complain?
If you are a service user, carer or relative, or if you have been affected or are likely to be affected by something the Trust has done, or should have done, you can make a complaint.
Making a Complaint
You can make your complaint by letter, email, via the Trust's website or verbally. If you wish to make a verbal complaint, a member of staff in the PALS and Complaints service can make a summary which will then be sent for you to check that it accurately summaries your concerns.
You can contact the complaints service by telephone on FREEPHONE 0800 085 8354; by writing to the Complaints and PALS Manager, FREEPOST RTXT-HJLG-XEBE Trust Headquarters, The Green, 1 Roger Dowley Court, Russia Lane, London E2 9NJ9 or by email at PALSandComplaints@elft.nhs.uk or you can provide details on the form at the bottom of the page.
It is always best to make your complaint as soon as possible to ensure that a full and through investigation can be undertaken. Complaints should be made no more than 12 months after the events happening, or within 12 months of you becoming aware that you have a complaint. The Trust's Complaints and PALS Manager can extend the time limit if there are good reasons why the complaint could not be made earlier.
If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we will need their written consent to share details to do with their care with you. This is to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.
The person assigned to investigate your complaint will usually need to refer to the patient's health records. If you do not want us to do this, please tell us; however, this may limit our ability to investigate your complaint as fully as we would wish.
What will happen next?
Once your complaint is received, we will:
- We will write or phone you to acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days
- Offer you the opportunity to have a meeting so that you can put your concerns directly to the person investigating your complaint
- Keep you informed of progress in a way that you choose
Following completion of the Trust's investigation you will receive a written response to your complaint from the Chief Executive. We aim to reply to complaints within 25 working days, but if your complaint is complex, relates to a number of services or involves staff who are on leave, it may be necessary to negotiate an extension with you.
Our response will include:
- A detailed response to each part of your complaint
- A full apology, if this is appropriate
- If we have made a mistake, details of steps we are taking to prevent the same thing happening again to other people.
Under the NHS Constitution says you have the right to
- Have your complaint dealt with efficiently and properly investigated
- Know the outcome of any investigation into your complaint
- Take your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you're not satisfied with the way that the Trust has dealt with your complaint.
What if I am not satisfied with the initial response to my concerns?
We try to do everything to resolve your concerns at the earliest opportunity. We want to hear from you if you are not satisfied with the findings of our investigation or the response to your complaint, to see if there is anything further we can do.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Unfortunately, there are times where, despite our best efforts, we are unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction. In these situations, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to look into your case. This should be done within 12 months of the date when you became aware of the need to complain although the Ombudsman also has flexibility to decide whether to investigate complaints outside of this timeframe and will look at the reason for any delay. The Ombudsman will usually only consider your complaint once it has been investigated and responded to by the Trust. You can contact The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on 0345 015 4033, write to them at The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1 4QP or visit their website at www.ombudsman.org.uk
The feedback we receive from people who have used our services, and their family and friends, is really important to us. By listening and learning from what people tell us, we can improve the services we provide. Please leave your feedback by following this link to fill in a form.