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Your Guide to making a Complaint about the Practice

If you’re not satisfied with any aspect of your care at Willowfield Surgery you have the opportunity to:

  1. Have your complaint dealt with effectively and with the minimum of delay.
  2. Be given an explanation as to the reasons for your complaint and an apology where appropriate.
  3. Be treated fairly and with consideration whether or not your problem has been resolved.

How to Complain

We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, often at the point (the time) they arise and with the person concerned. If the problem cannot be sorted out this way and you wish to make a complaint, we would like you to let us know as soon as possible, ideally within a matter of days or at most a few weeks because this will enable us to establish what happened more easily.  If it is not possible to do that, please send details of your complaint by letter or email for the attention of:

Gail Bowen
Practice Manager
50-52 Castlereagh Road

Tel: 02890 457862

  • Within 6 months of the incident that caused the problem or
  • Within 12 months of the date of discovering that you have a problem, providing that it is within 12 months of the incident.

Complaints sent by email

Please note the practice will acknowledge your complaint sent via email but will respond in full by post to safeguard your confidential information.


Gail Bowen - Practice Manager
Day to day responsibility and administrative complaints

Dr J Patterson
Medical complaints.

What we do:

  • All complaints are passed initially to the Practice Manager
  • Complaints can be made by letter, telephone or face-to-face.
  • You will then be offered the choice of how you wish your complaint to be dealt with – letter, email and telephone or face-to-face.
  • Any written/*oral complaints will be acknowledged within 3 working days (* this excludes oral complaints that are resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction not later than the next working day)
  • We will aim to have looked into your complaint within 10 working days of the date that you raised it with us.  We will then be in a position to offer an explanation or a meeting with the people involved and talk to you about what you would like to see as a resolution.

 When we are looking at your complaint, we aim to –

  • Find out what happened, what went wrong and how it can be put right
  • Find out what you would like to see as a resolution
  • Make it possible for you to discuss the problem with those concerned if you would like this
  • Make sure you receive an apology where this is appropriate
  • Identify what we can do to make sure the problem does not happen again

Complaining on behalf of someone else

Please note that we keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have their permission to do so.  A note signed by the person concerned will be needed, unless they are incapable (because of illness) of signing this.

Administrative Complaints

The Practice Manager will carry out an investigation and provide you with a full response within two weeks of the date of your complaint.

Medical Complaints

If your complaint is regarding medical services provided by either a doctor or a nurse the Practice Manager will refer the complaint to the partner with the responsibility for medical complaints who will carry out an investigation.  If the doctor whom the complaint is about is not the doctor with whom you are registered, the registering doctor will also be informed.  Again, the complaint may be dealt with by telephone, in writing or with a face-to-face meeting and you will receive a full response within 2 weeks or as soon as reasonably practical either of the date of the complaint or the date of the meeting.

What to do if you’re still not happy or you do not wish to approach us directly?

We hope that, if you have a problem, you will use our practice complaints procedure.  We believe this will give us the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and an opportunity to improve our practice.  However, if you feel that you cannot raise your complaint directly with us or you are dissatisfied with the result of our investigation, you should contact the Health and Social Care Board at the address below.  The Board can act as an intermediary and help in the resolution of your complaint.

Complaints Office Health and Social Care Board Headquarters

12-22 Linenhall Street

Tel: 02895 363 893

The Board ask us to send them anonymised copies of all written complaints (i.e. letters, statements taken, complaints forms received and our responses unless you object and tell us not to.

The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman – if you still remain unhappy, you can refer your complaint to the Ombudsman.  The Ombudsman will consider your complaint to determine whether it needs investigation by him.  Further information on the service provided by the Ombudsman is available on their website detailed below.

Freepost NIPSO
Progressive House
33 Wellington Place

Tel: 028 9023 3821 or Freephone: 0800 34 34 24 (Mon to Fri 9am - 5pm)

Text Phone: 028 9089 7789

Patient and Client Council - You may also wish to contact the patient and client council, which can provide free and confidential advice, information and help you to make a complaint.  This might include help with writing letters, making telephone calls and supporting you at any meetings you might need to attend.  Please find enclosed an information leaflet explaining how your concerns will be handled and contact details for the Patient and Client Council who offer support for complainants, if required.

Tel: 0800 917 0222 (free complaints helpline)

Specialist advocacy services may also be available to help you through the process of complaining.

Reviewed and updated: May 2019


Willowfield Surgery
50-52 Castlereagh Road

Phone: 028 9045 7862

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