Complaints policy - patient (4)

Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd Complaints Policy

This Policy summarises the procedures to be followed to process complaints or concerns received from service users regarding their perception of the quality of the Clinical services delivered by the Organisation:

  1. It is the policy of the Organisation to welcome concerns and complaints as a form of Duty of Candour and the openness to deal with such events regarding the services provided, and to look upon them as an opportunity to learn, adapt, and improve in order to provide better services. This policy is NOT intended to apportion blame, to consider the possibility of negligence, or to be used as a mechanism for providing compensation. It does NOT form part of the Organisation’s Disciplinary, Grievance and Appeals Procedure.

  2. Complaints may originate from service users, their family / relatives, either directly or through the Contracting Authority, and even from the Organisation’s own Clinical staff. Complaints may be received both verbally and in writing, and all are taken seriously and are dealt with promptly.

  3. Each instance of a complaint will be reported / routed according to the following hierarchy:

    1. Complaints relating to daily treatment delivered by healthcare clinicians and other staff - report to the Registered Manager of the Organisation (usually the Director of this organisation).

    2. Complaints relating to the Registered Manager - report to the Director of Elite Sports Professional Services Limited

    3. Complaints relating to the co-Director of the Organisation - proceed as directed in clause 15 of this Policy.

  4. For clauses 3.1 and 3.2 above, the following action will be taken according to the circumstances:

    1. Complete the appropriate sections of a Complaints Record Form for appropriate action.

    2. Provide the complainant with a written acknowledgement within 2 working days. This acknowledgement should confirm that the complaint will be fully investigated and reported back to the complainant within a maximum of 28 days.

    3. Undertake a thorough investigation into the complaint; firstly, to determine whether the complaint is justified, and if so, what action is needed to correct the issue and to

      prevent a recurrence in the future.

  5. Every effort will be made to resolve the complaint and to provide a full response to the complainant within 28 working days.

  6. It is recognised that some people may need independent help and support to raise concerns and the service user is advised of the contact details of the local Advocacy services from where such help can be obtained.

  7. All contact with the complainant should be polite, courteous and sympathetic, and staff is expected to remain calm and respectful at all times. Staff should not accept blame, make excuses, or blame other staff. If the complaint raises potentially serious matters, (e.g., such as circumstances as referenced in clause 3.3 above), appropriate advice may need to be sought from legal counsel.

  8. If the issues are too complex such that the complaint cannot be satisfactorily resolved within 28 working days, then the complainant must be kept informed of any delays.

  9. As a second stage to the complaints handling procedure, if the complainant is not satisfied with the Service Provider’s handling or progress of their complaint, or is dissatisfied with the outcome, the complainant has the right to refer the complaint to the following external Authorities, details of which are as follows:

    Regulating Authority – CQC – 03000 616161 Local Government Ombudsman - 0300 061 0614

  10. Once the complaint has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, the Registered Manager will take the following action:

    1. Offer the complainant (and advocate, as appropriate) the opportunity to attend a meeting with staff to explain the results of the investigation and, where appropriate, to offer an apology. (An apology for what has happened is NOT an admission of any liability).

    2. Provide the complainant with a written report of the results of the investigation, including any action that has been taken to prevent a recurrence, and the ways in which the Authorities identified in clause 9 of this policy can be contacted if the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation.

    3. Complete the relevant sections of the Complaints Record Form, which will then be signed-off by the Registered Manager, or authorised delegate.

    4. Review any staff training issues, specifically the need for any re-training, that may have arisen as a result of the investigation.

  11. The Registered Manager is responsible for maintaining all records relating to a complaint, using an appropriate Complaints Record Form as the basis for monitoring the progress made

    in resolving the complaint. Records will include details of all complaints received, both written and oral, and copies of all statements from relevant parties.

  12. Records of all complaints, together with an on-going Complaints Record Log, are maintained in a separate Complaints Records File located at the Organisation’s offices under the responsibility of the Registered Manager.

  13. The Complaints Record Log will be reviewed on a regular basis for apparent adverse trends in service quality as part of the Management Review of the Quality System.

  14. In accordance with statutory requirements all complaints records will be kept on file for 10 years from date of first entry on the Complaints Record Log.

  15. Handling of Complaints relating directly to the Directors of the Organisation:

The complaint will be reported directly to an appropriate external Authority, according to clause 9 of this Policy and with due regard to any relevant legal implications. In all other aspects, processing and handling of the complaint will proceed as set down in clauses 5 through 8, and 10 through 14, of this Policy.


Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd serves a diverse patient population. We are committed to providing a complaints service to all regardless of their racial or cultural background, gender or sexual orientation, religion or disability.


This policy relates to patient-related complaints only. All formal patient complaints, however received, should be managed as set out in this policy. Complaints from staff are dealt with under the relevant Human Resources policies.


Within this policy the term formal complaint refers to any written complaint received from a patient or a representative of the patient. Under the NHS Complaints Regulations on receipt of any written complaint from a patient Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd is required to follow the process set out in this document.

A verbal complaint may be treated as a formal complaint if on discussion with the complainant he/she wishes his/her concerns to be treated formally. In this case a detailed written record must be made by the recipient of the complaint and sent to the complainant with an invitation for it to be signed for accuracy and returned to the Registered Manager. Patients and carers wishing to raise informal complaints can speak directly to any member of staff or can be directed to a senior manager within the Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd .

  1. Duties & Responsibilities

    1. The Clinical Director

      This team (CQSG) is has delegated authority from the Board of Directors:-

      • To receive and note reports about the operation of the complaints procedure and the effect on service improvement.

      • To receive assurance that emerging themes are investigated and acted upon, and that themes that are consistent with those raised elsewhere (e.g. serious incidents) are identified and acted upon.

      • To receive assurance that the complaints procedure features in patient satisfaction surveys and/or is subject to a separate survey.

      • To ensure that senior staff provide the necessary leadership, training and support to those dealing with complaints.

    2. Registered Manager

      The responsibilities of this role are as follows:

      • Receive and manage all formal complaints in accordance with this policy and procedure and within timescales set out in this policy.

      • Manage the complaints handling process within Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd .

      • Raise any issues related to an inability to complete the complaints process in line with this document with the Managing Director, who will advise on issues as they arise.

      • Ensure that the Director is made aware of any actual or potential issues arising from complaints that could put Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd at risk, including potential legal claims.

      • Ensure that information about the complaints procedure is available to patients and anyone else who requests it.

      • Inform members of staff about complaints received about them.

      • Draft responses to complaints to ensure they meet the standards expected.

      • Is responsible for review of all complaints to ensure that lessons are learnt as appropriate. This will be carried out both by supporting the relevant director during the complaints investigation and through review of reports.

  2. Procedures

    1. Aim of Local resolution

      The main objective of local resolution is to ensure that complaints are dealt with promptly and satisfactorily by ensuring that Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd :

      • Investigates each complaint thoroughly

      • Identifies any lessons to be learnt

      • Ensures that appropriate remedial actions are taken

      • Communicates effectively with the complainant and resolves the matter to the satisfaction of the complainant.

    2. Verbal Complaints

      Wherever possible complaints and concerns should be dealt with at the time they arise by the appropriate clinician and/or departmental manager and/or director.

    3. Formal Complaints

      People wishing to make formal complaints should be advised to put their concerns in writing and address them to the Complaints Manger. If a formal complaint is made orally to the Registered Manager or other member of staff, a written record detailing the issues of concern should be prepared by the member of staff who has spoken to the complainant. This should then be forwarded to the complainant asking them to confirm that the issues of concern have been correctly understood and to sign the written record.

    4. Time Limit for Making a Formal Complaint

      A complaint should be made within twelve months of the time the event(s)

    5. Who May Complain

      A complaint may be made by a patient, a person acting on behalf of a patient, or anyone who has been affected by any action/omission/decision of Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd . Where a complainant is acting on behalf of a patient, written consent must be obtained from

      the patient before a response can be sent. Where the patient is a child without capacity, a complaint may be made by the parent or guardian. Where the patient has died, the complaint may be made by the named next of kin or by a person nominated by the named next of kin. In other circumstances where the complainant may have difficulty complaining on their own behalf or have other requirements e.g. vulnerable children and adults, or people with mental health difficulties, the Chief Executive will review each situation in light of current legal requirements and good practice guidance from the Department of Health and offer help and support to a complainant as appropriate.

    6. Handling a Complaint

      On receipt of a formal complaint the Registered Manager will:

      1. Acknowledge a written complaint within three working days of receipt, enclose complaints leaflet, or give a brief indication of the process and the anticipated time for response.

      2. Send a copy of the complaint to the relevant director or service lead asking them to advise on the most appropriate way of resolving the complaint, e.g. by a meeting, telephone call or investigation and formal letter.

      3. Ask the relevant director or service lead for a report on the concerns raised by the complainant.

      4. Upon receipt of the advice from the department, send a letter to the complainant on behalf of the Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd with either an offer of a meeting or telephone conversation with relevant staff in the department, or confirmation that a formal investigation is underway (again indicating anticipated time for response).

      5. Record the details of the complaint onto the Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd ’s complaints register.

      6. Advise the Board of Directors of any complaints that may have legal implications.

      7. Monitor the agreed time scale for response to a complaint

      8. If the Directorate decides to resolve the complaint by way of a formal letter of response to the complainant, draft a written response for the Board of Directors to consider alongside the information received from the relevant Clinical Director or Registered Manager. This may be in the form of a letter or an investigation report together with a covering letter.

      9. Include in the response details of any action, which is being taken to implement changes in practice and procedure identified as a result of the complaint.

      10. Ensure final letters of response or investigation reports are sent to the appropriate staff for approval of the content before being sent to the complainant.

      11. Send approved final response to complainant within agreed set timescale. If the final response will be delayed inform complainant in writing.

      12. Ensure copies of the response to the complaint are sent to the relevant staff.

      13. Be responsible for maintaining secure and accurate records of each complaint.

      14. Monitor complaints which are reopened to identify whether the initial investigation and response was appropriate or whether new issues have been raised.

    7. Action Plans

      Where the investigation of a complaint identifies the need to make changes in practice and systems, it is important that all remedial measures are clearly documented, acted upon and monitored. When staff are asked to provide accounts during an investigation they should be asked to provide details of any action or procedural change which may be made as a direct result of the complaint. The relevant director will be responsible for agreeing any procedural changes and the development of action plans in conjunction with the Board of Directors if the plan is relevant to more than one directorate and for monitoring adherence to them and their effectiveness. Action plans should be developed after the completion of the investigation into the complaint

      When a complaint involves care provided by several organisations, the Registered Manager will liaise with those organisations to identify the most appropriate handling process for the investigation and who will lead on co-ordinating the complaint.

    8. Details of Complaints which Warrant Professional Disciplinary or Criminal Investigation Complaints such as professional misconduct, poor performance, theft, assault, wilful negligence or abuse will be passed to Director of Human Resources and Board of Directors for consideration and possible action.

6.09 Complaints about Members of Staff

Where complaints are expressed against a member of staff, the following process should be followed (except where professional, disciplinary or criminal investigation is warranted).

When a complaint is received regarding a member of staff, information should be obtained from the member of staff via interview or statement. The member of staff’s line manager will then be asked to review this. Following review by the line manager, action such as counselling, supervision or training should be initiated by the line manager as appropriate.

    1. Complaints Involving Other Organisations

      Where a complaint is received which involves a local healthcare partner, wherever possible a joint investigation should be carried out with the permission of the complainant. The Registered Manager

      dealing with the complaint should contact the partner organisation when the complaint is received.

      Agreement should be reached on who will prepare the joint response and the complainant advised accordingly.

    2. Complaints received via the media

      Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd will not enter into correspondence with complainants via the media. People who get in touch with the local press to complain about the care they or their relatives have received should be advised to contact the complaints department if they wish to pursue a formal complaint against the Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd .

      The Registered Manager will work with the communications department to prepare statements on specific issues where this is considered to be appropriate.

    3. What cannot be investigated as a formal complaint

      The formal complaints process will be suspended if:

      • The complainant expresses an intention to pursue a legal claim against Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd .

      • The complaint concerns a member of staff who is, or may be, subject to disciplinary proceedings relating to the issue raised in the complaint.

        In either of the above circumstances, the complainant will be notified in writing that the complaints procedure has been suspended and that the matter is being dealt with in accordance with medico- legal or human resources policies and procedures. There will be ongoing liaison with the complainant where appropriate.

        Performance standards for stage 1

        Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd has set the following performance standards:

      • Formal complaints must be acknowledged by the complaints department on the first working day of the registered manager after receipt of the complaint (usually within 3 days) If this is not achieved then an explanation for the delay should be included on the complaints file.

      • Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd target timescale for responding to formal complaints is twenty working days, unless the matter is complex, (e.g involves other organisations) in which case the target time will be agreed with the complainant.

        Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd recognises that it is not always possible to achieve this particularly where a complaint is complex. However, it is the responsibility of the Elite Sports

        Professional Services Ltd to ensure that timescales set out in ‘this complaints policy’ are adhered to wherever possible.

        Handling of persistent complainants

        Persistent or habitual complainants can cause significant problems for the organisation both in terms of staff time and emotional stress. Such complainants tend to make frequent complaints but each one is distinct. The amount of time taken to investigate each issue should be determined by the seriousness of the issue and not by the type of complainant. Therefore, in some instances, only a brief response may be required whilst in others a more detailed explanation will be needed.

        At the same time the Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd has a duty to protect staff against outright abuse of their person or time and it is necessary to identify unreasonably persistent complainants and to have in place a procedure for dealing with this.

        A persistent or habitual complainant may meet one or more of the following criteria:

      • Is in frequent contact with the complaints department, sometimes making daily contact.

      • Will contact the department by telephone or in person despite having been given a date for a meeting or advised of the timescale for a written response.

      • Is aggressive or abusive towards staff.

      • Is adamant their concerns have not been addressed despite having received detailed responses.

      • Having received a response contacts the complaints department immediately with a new set of questions or presents the original problem in a different way.

      • Changes the complaint or what they want to achieve part-way through the process.

      • Dictates who they will speak to and/or meet with.

      • Seeks an unrealistic outcome and expresses an intention to pursue the complaint until that is achieved.

        A complainant may meet some or all of the above criteria; the final decision about what action to take will rest with the Board of Directors In all cases where a complainant is classified as being ‘unreasonably persistent’ a letter will be sent to them explaining why it is believed that their behaviour falls into that category and what action the Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd is taking. The options are most likely to be:

      • Requesting that they contact Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd in a particular form (e.g. by letter only).

      • Requesting that they make contact with one particular named person.

      • Restricting their telephone calls to specific days and times and/or

      • Asking them to enter into an agreement about their future behaviour.

Where the complainant fails to comply with the above and continues to behave in a way which is unreasonable, the Elite Sports Professional Services Ltd may decide to terminate further contact with the complainant. The complainant will be advised of this in writing by the Managing Director. Any further correspondence which is received will be read but not acknowledged unless there are new issues of concern.

New complaints received from people who have been dealt with under the persistent complainants policy will be assessed by the Registered Manager and dealt with as considered to be appropriate.

Process for monitoring compliance with this Procedure

The registered manager will provide a quarterly report Board of Directors detailing the progress of management for any complaint received in the year (and any open complaints from the previous year). The report will show compliance with the complaints process by indicating the identification of the lead for preparing a response and timeliness of response. It will detail any lessons learned and any actions taken or planned in response to the complaint.

The Registered Manager will report assurance of compliance with the procedure to the Board of Directors, and refer any matters arising from complaints to the Board of Directors for action if required. Monitoring of changes agrees as a result of feedback from complaints will be monitored by the Complaints Manger.


The Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009

Department of Health (2009) Listening responding and improving health care H_095408

National Patient Safety Agency. (2005). Patient Briefing - Saying Sorry When Things Go Wrong. London, National Patient Safety Agency.

National Patient Safety Agency. (2005). Being Open Communicating Patient Safety Incidents with Patients and Their Carers. London: National Patient Safety Agency.

The Data Protection Act 1998 London: Office of Public Sector Information. Available at:

Freedom of Information Act 2000 London: Office of Public Sector

Information. Available at:

Written by Dr K Parmar Jan 2023
Review date Dec 2024