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Family Practitioner Service HSC Complaints eLearning package

“To err is human. To cover up is unforgivable. To fail to learn is inexcusable.” Sir Liam Donaldson NHS Chief Medical Officer 1998-2012

Family Practitioner Services

Complaints e-Learning

Welcome to the e-Learning package for Complaints Handling for Health and Social Care (HSC).

The HSC Complaints Procedure, was implemented in 2009, however the Procedure was updated and revised further in April 2022. Therefore, this e-Learning Package provides general training, awareness and guidance, as well as detailing the role and responsibility of the Strategic Planning and Performance Group of the Department of Health (the SPPG), in relation to complaints.

Once you have completed the e-Learning Package you will be asked to

  • Select the appropriate Family Practitioner Service (FPS),
  • Enter the name of your Practice to include the Contractor Code.

Entering the Code will provide the SPPG with confirmation that you have completed the e-Learning Package.

Whilst the e-Learning Package, is intended to give you a general overview of how complaints should be handled and responded to, please also make yourself aware of the following information.

  • Adherence to the Complaints Procedure is a statutory obligation, therefore all FPS must designate a senior person of authority, i.e. a Practice Manager or Partner, to take responsibility for complaints handling. Arrangements regarding how patients can make complaints should be publicised and mechanisms for making complaints must be open, flexible and easily accessible for all service users.
  • All FPS are required to have in place a practice-based complaints procedure for members of the public, detailing how their complaint will be investigated and what they can do if they remain unhappy following the Practice response, or if they require further assistance or advice. In addition, patients/service users may approach any member of staff to make a complaint about the service they have received, consequently appropriate guidance must be in place for staff to respond to and deal with complainants.
  • All formal complaints i.e. those in writing, should be acknowledged within 3 working days of receipt and responded to in full within 10 working days. If any delays are expected, or it is apparent that this timescale will not be met, the complainant should be notified of the revised timescale. Responses can be provided electronically.
  • The SPPG can act as an ‘honest broker’ or intermediary in relation to complaints concerning Primary Care. The SPPG can become involved at any stage within the Complaints Process, providing advice, assistance and support; however agreement is required from both parties to the SPPG acting in this role.
  • The SPPG monitors all complaints received in Primary and Secondary Care, therefore, once resolution has been achieved an anonymised copy of the complaint and the Practice response should be provided to the Complaints Office of the Strategic Planning and Performance Group.

The SPPG can provide complaints training as and when required to Family Practitioner Services. SPPG staff are willing to provide guidance to Practices and are able to review anonymised responses to complainants if requested. If you require advice and/or assistance in relation to the content of your practice-based Complaints Leaflet, SPPG complaints officers can review documentation to ensure it complies with the Guidance. SPPG officers are also willing to meet practices and staff to discuss their requirements under the HSC Complaints Procedure and how to investigate and respond to complaints.

If you have any queries regarding this e-Learning Package, or require it in hard copy, please contact the Complaint’s Office at the SPPG by telephone or email (contact details below):

T: 028 95 363893



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