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FPS Complaints – Principles

What are the principles?

The underpinning principles of an effective complaints procedure.

Openness and Accessibility

You must provide flexible options to allow the person to make a complaint and outline what support is available to the complainant. Members of the public should be able to make complaints via the telephone, in person, in writing or by email.

Within the Practice you should display a complaints poster detailing the name and telephone number of the designated Complaints Officer or Manager. You should also have a Practice based complaints leaflet derived from the Guidance, detailing how patients can make complaints and what the investigation of their complaint will entail.

Lastly, you should develop complaints guidance to inform staff how to receive, investigate and respond to complaints. All complaints documentation should include the name and the number of designated Complaints Manager.

Strategic Planning and Performance Group complaints staff can review any of the above documentation to ensure it is fit for purpose.


You must provide an appropriate and proportionate investigation and response.

Fairness and Independence

Early resolution will reduce the stress for all concerned.

You must strive to prevent defensive manners, tones or negativity or ‘them’ versus ‘us’ attitude.

You should promote objectivity and use a positive approach, working together openly and honestly.

Learning and Improving

It is essential that complaints should be viewed as a positive opportunity to learn and improve services.

Complaints are one aspect of user feedback and should be welcomed so that you can deal with the issue identified, learn the lessons, prevent or reduce the risk of it happening again, and therefore improve your services – ‘closing the loop’.

Change something which some people view as a negative, into a positive. You should have local arrangements in place to facilitate this, eg. discuss the learning at governance meetings or staff meetings.

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