COVID-19 - Revised complaints process
Advice for Patients/Families needing to make a complaint during the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Solent NHS Trust take concerns and complaints about our services very seriously and we have a rigorous process for dealing with Complaints or concerns raised by patients which is overseen by our PALs and Complaints team.
You will be aware, from the media, of the significant impact that the Corona virus pandemic has had on services throughout the world and locally within our healthcare service. During this time Solent are deploying all staff in other areas to focus on direct patient care.
We have therefore had to make the difficult decision to change the way we are responding to complaints and service concerns. This information is line with advice provided by NHS England and the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsmen (PHSO).
It is with great regret that we have had to put these new measures in place but it is important that we release as much resource as possible to support the delivery of clinical care in tackling Corona Virus. We have prepared some further information and FAQs for your guidance and look forward to returning our PALs services to normal as soon as possible. In the meantime thank you for your support in enabling us to focus on the maintenance of frontline services for our patients.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Our PALs team will still be available to take calls and concerns for the same hours as usual, but please bear with us it may take longer than usual to respond.
- They will be less able to connect you directly to clinical teams who are all focussing on the provision of direct care We will continue to have our usual email access for PALs and complaints.
Our current opening hours are: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm
A number of changes will be required in how we handle complaints. This will affect the length of time to reach a conclusion and reduce the scope of how we can investigate your concerns.
- If you wish to make complaint we will take details from you and log them in the usual way but we may need to ask more explicit questions to be sure we can respond accurately.
- Your complaint will be reviewed by senior staff and triaged to identify any patient/staff safety concerns. Immediate actions will be put in place to address these to ensure safety.
- You will receive a letter advising that your complaint will now be paused for a period of time. National guidance suggests that this will initially be for a period of 3 months but this is subject to review as determined by the national picture in tackling Coronavirus.
- You will be advised when making your complaint that this will not be supported with the normal investigation until there has been a step down in current measures related to Coronavirus.
- If you wish to progress you complaint we will record this and contact will be made with you once services return to normal.
- We will not be able to support you meeting with the services to discuss your complaint or concern. During a period of social distancing Local Resolution meetings will not be possible. This will prevent transmission of Corona Virus through face to face contact
- Clinical staff are also unable to engage in non face to face resolution meetings in most cases. This is because we must ensure that clinical staff are able to be with patients who require their care at a time when we know that there will be more patients requiring care and potentially fewer staff to deliver this.
- We are not able to advise when we will be able to return to formal responses to complainants, however, the situation will be monitored closely. National Guidance suggests that this will be for a period of 3 months initially
- We will issue further guidance to complainants when the situation starts to resolve and our normal service can resume.
- If after this time you wish to continue with you complaint you will not need to resubmit your complaint to PALs once normal service has resumed. We will contact you and discuss how you would like to proceed.