Complaints Procedure


We know that sometimes we can make mistakes or fail to meet expectations.
We know there will be times when patients or their families will feel a need to express dissatisfaction with the service or care provided at Galway Bay Medical Centre.
This complaints policy aims to provide an open and transparent way to make us aware of occasions when we may not have performed to our usual high standards.
It is our practice policy to do our best to resolve any such complaints as quickly as possible and to ensure that each member of staff fulfills their duty to listen to our patients concerns.
All complaints whether verbal or written will be taken seriously and handled appropriately, sensitively and in confidence by our doctors, nurses and administrative staff.
We commit to safeguarding the rights and dignity of our patients and members of staff in the implementation of this policy.
We encourage our patients to let us now when we have failed to meet expectations as this helps us to continuously improve our service.
We will implement changes in response to shortcomings where possible and in a timely manner.

Open Disclosure

It is the policy of this Practice to disclose to patients all information relating to shortcomings in care and treatment. If we discover that we have failed in our duty of care to you, we commit to disclose this to you and not to wait for you to find out by some other means.

We will say sorry if we mess up.

It is the policy of this practice to offer an apology when we have failed to meet our commitments to patients.

We support open disclosure and will communicate with our patients and their families in an open, honest and transparent manner if things go wrong.

We believe it is the right thing to do.

We believe it is the correct and ethical response to an adverse event.

We believe it allows patients and their families to make informed decisions regarding their subsequent treatment and care.

Managing complaints openly and quickly

We are committed to resolving complaints at the earliest possible opportunity and all members of our practice team will treat feedback, both positive and negative, with courtesy respect and efficiency and follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which accompanies this policy. Similarly, we expect patients to treat all members of our practice team with courtesy when making a complaint.
We will publicise our procedure so that people know how they can raise an issue and with whom.

We will always try to resolve complaints in person and at the earliest opportunity.

If the appropriate person is not available to deal with a complaint immediately we will ensure that a member of our practice team will make contact with the patient and/or family at the earliest possible opportunity.
Where an investigation is indicated patients and families will be included from the outset.

Anonymous Complaints

In the interest of fairness we cannot investigate anonymous complaints. We are happy for a complaint to be made in confidence to one of our GPs in the consultation room but there may be a limit to how confidential it can remain if such a complaint is to be investigated thoroughly.

Vexatious Complaints

If following investigation a complaint is found to be frivolous or vexatious, we will not pursue the complaint any further. If a complaint is found to be vexatious or malicious, there will be no record of the complaint in the file of the staff member / service about which the complaint was made. Before the complaint is deemed vexatious the member of staff who receives it must bring it to the attention of the designated person in the Practice.


Fairness and Equity:
The investigation of complaints will be fair and transparent and patients should not fear recrimination for raising an issue of concern to them. A consistent and standardised approach will be adopted for the management of all complaints.

We will treat patients and families with respect and dignity as we also expect to be treated by patients and their families

We will publicise our policy and make it accessible to patients and their families. Special attention will be paid to the needs of people with special requirements e.g. older people, children, people with physical and sensory disability, literacy issues and disadvantaged groups. A copy of this policy will be available on request at reception.

Effectiveness and Efficiency:
We will try to resolve all complaints effectively and within clearly stated timeframes without compromising other principles.

We will deal with all complaints in an impartial manner. Complainants will have the opportunity to be heard and complaints will be investigated without prejudice to either the complainant, the doctor or member of staff.

We will treat all information obtained through the course of complaint management in a confidential manner and meet the requirements of the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003.

We will ensure that consent to access patient-confidential information is obtained (or acceptably implied) from the complainant and/or the person on whose behalf the complaint is made.

Procedures will be transparent to the complainant during the process of all complaint investigation. Recommendations arising from any investigation will be implemented where resources allow. Recommendations relating to Patient Safety will be given priority and an appropriate action plan will be implemented in a timely manner. Complaints will be recorded and action plans will be monitored ensuring learning from complaints.

Right of Appeal:
Patients will be informed of their rights in relation to appeals processes and of other avenues to pursue their complaint if dissatisfied with the local investigation