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Trust disability access

Complaints, comments and suggestions

Staff member looks through files

Our aim is to always provide excellent care, but things do occasionally go wrong and you may want to complain.

Our complaints policy is designed to keep the process as simple as possible, so that you find it easy to share your experiences with us. Receiving feedback in this way about the services we provide helps us to understand those experiences, and to identify areas that need to be improved.

Who can make a complaint?

A complaint can be made by anyone who is affected by the actions or decisions of the Trust. If you are complaining on someone else's behalf, we will first need to check with them that they are happy for us to respond to you.

Is there a time limit for making a complaint?

The statutory regulations state that complaints should be made within 12 months. However, we will still investigate complaints made outside this timeframe, as long at it is practicable to do so.

How do I make a complaint?

You can decide who you would prefer to contact first about making a complaint, and that person will help to ensure all your options are explained to you. You can always expect us to listen, and then to investigate and respond promptly to your concerns.

We would encourage you in the first instance to speak to a member of staff who is involved in your care. If you do not feel comfortable talking to someone directly, you can ask for someone independent to help you. The Complaints and PALS Team can tell you more about this.

If staff have been unable to resolve your concerns and you want to make a formal complaint you can contact the Trust's Chief Executive or Complaints and PALS Team. See the Contact box on the right for further details.

If you have something you want to say about our services, you can also visit the Patient Opinion website. This is an independent site which has been set up to give people the opportunity to tell their story about their experience of using NHS services.

What happens next?

A member of staff will be identified as the lead and that person will work with you to agree how best to respond to your complaint. This can be done in a method you prefer, including by telephone, in person or in writing. For further information about how to complain, please feel free to contact a member of the Complaints and PALS Team.

When will I hear from you?

We will contact you within three working days of receiving your complaint to acknowledge we have received it and to confirm what arrangements we will be making to help address your concerns. We will tell you who will be involved in the investigation and who will be responding. We will also agree with you how the response will be made. Our commitment to you is that, unless agreed otherwise, we will respond to your complaint within 25 working days.

I am unsure whether or not I want to make a formal complaint

If you are not happy about something, but you are not sure that you want to make a complaint, you can speak to one of our Liason Officers. They can give you more information about the complaints procedure and about independent complaints advocacy services that can help you and give advice. See related links for more information.

Will I be supported in making a complaint?

We do understand that making a complaint can be daunting, and help is available. You might like to get in touch with our Complaints and PALS Team, they will also be able to sign post you to other organisations that can help, such as the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS)

What if I am unhappy with the response I receive to my complaint?

If you are unhappy with our response and need further information please contact the Complaints and PALS Team who can advise you on what options are available to you.

We will do all we reasonably can to help resolve your complaint to your satisfaction. However, if this does not prove possible, you do have the right to approach the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. You should do this within six months of our final response to you. You can write to them at:

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP

Telephone: 0345 015 4033

Email: phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk

Will my complaint be kept confidential?

Your complaint will only be shared with relevant members of staff, in order to help ensure we can properly investigate and respond.

We will then use any issues and learning that arise from this as part of our governance arrangements, but this will NOT include details about you. 

Your complaint will NOT be included in your health records.

Why do you collect my personal information?

Sussex Partnership prides itself in being a diverse organisation. We want everyone to be able to raise concerns or complaints and to use our services with ease and confidence. To ensure this, we need to continue to collect and monitor equality and diversity information as required by the equality and human rights legislation. 

How do I make a positive comment about the services I have received?

You might also want to make a positive comment about the services you have received, and we welcome this type of feedback too, as it helps us to learn about what contributes to a good experience. If you want to make a positive comment you can do so verbally or in writing directly to the service or to the Complaints and PALS Team, address opposite.