How to Complain

At Midlands Ultrasound and Medical Services (MUMS) we strive to provide world class healthcare – a caring environment where we take complaints very seriously. We learn from our complaints and take action to improve the service and communicate with our patients to achieve this.

All complaints, written and verbal will be recorded. Written complaints will be acknowledged in writing within 2 working days of receipt. Patients will be encouraged to complain in writing where possible.

Period within which complaints can be made

The period for making a complaint is normally:

(a) 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint occurred.
(b) 12 months from the date on which the event which is the subject of the complaint comes to the complainant’s notice.

Complaints should normally be resolved within 20 working days.  If investigations are still ongoing after 20 working days, you will be sent a letter that explains what is happening.

The Complaints Manager has the discretion to extend the time limits if the complainant has good reason for not making the complaint sooner, or where it is still possible to properly investigate the complaint despite the extended delay.

STAGE 1

Action upon Receipt of a Complaint
Complaints may be received either verbally or in writing and must be forwarded to the Complaints Manager, Stephanie Byrom -  who must:

  • Acknowledge in writing within the period of 2 working days beginning with the day on which the complaint was made or, where that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable. When a complaint arrives via email at the weekend – the patient will be contacted on the next working day. MUMS will offer to discuss the matter in person, advise the patient of potential timescales and the next steps;
  • Ensure the complaint is properly investigated. Where the complaint involves more than one organisation the Complaints Manager will liaise with his / her counterpart to agree responsibilities and ensure that one coordinated response is sent;
  • Where the complaint has been sent to the incorrect organisation, advise the patient within 3 working days and ask them to contact the service provider. MUMS provide appropriate contact details to the client.
  • Provide a full response, following thorough investigation, within 20 working days

The written investigation and response

This will include:

  • A clear statement of the issues, investigations and the findings, giving clear evidence-based reasons for decisions if appropriate.
  • Where errors have occurred, explain these fully and state what will be done to put these right, or prevent repetition.
  • A focus on fair and proportionate outcomes for the patient, including any remedial action or compensation.
  • A clear statement that the response is a STAGE 1 response and that if the complainant is not satisfied they can ask for an independent investigation ( someone who has not been involved at STAGE 1 within MUMS Organisation )
  • An apology or explanation as appropriate.

STAGE 2

Complaining can be stressful, so the aim should always be to try and sort out any problems as quickly and informally as possible. If a patient’s complaint is responded to effectively at Stage 1 when they first raise their concerns, then it is unlikely that matters will need to be escalated again – via a STAGE 2 Independent MUMS – Medical Director.

Timeframes for Stage 2:

  1. Complaint should be acknowledged within 3 working days of receipt.
  2. Full response to complaint within 29 working days, or an update on progress every 20 working days.
  3. Complaint should be concluded within 3 months (unless there is a good reason to explain longer timeframe)

The independent MUMS investigator shall conduct an objective review of the investigation into the complaint and the response that was provided at Stage 1. The Independent MUMS investigator will provide a single full written response to the complainant that includes a summary of the outstanding heads of complain and the matters that remain unresolved; A summary of the process of review; The findings of the review, Detailed signposting to the next stage of the complaints process, including information on how to escalate a complaint via ISCAS and confirmation that this must be done in within six months of the final response at Stage 2.

However – MUMS are subscribers to ISCAS and as such – follow the ISCAS 3 stage process.

  1. Stage 1 – Investigation and Complaint
  2. Stage 2 – Further Internal Independent Investigation and Response
  3. Stage 3 – Signpost to ISCAS for Independent Adjudicator

Patients of MUMS have the right to escalate the complaint to ISCAS, Independent Sector Complaints Adjudications Service, Patients may not be satisfied with the way MUMS dealt with their complaint or may not be satisfied with the written investigation and response and wish for an independent review.

If patients are not satisfied with the complaint review at stage 2, they have the right to refer the matter to stage 3 independent external adjudication through ISCAS (for subscribing providers). They need to do this within 6 months of receiving the final response at stage 2 and ISCAS aims to complete its adjudications within 3-6 months. The person making a complaint does not pay for the complaints process.

Stage 3 adjudication will not consider ‘new’ issues that have not previously been raised with the provider, with the exception of concerns raised about the way the IHP has handled the complaint, which may not surface until after a response has been made at stage 2. There is no appeal to Stage 3 adjudication and the Independent Adjudicator’s decision is final.

If patients wish to escalate their complaint to ISCAS at stage 3, they should do this in writing.

ISCAS will provide a written acknowledgement to them within 3 working days. It will then write to MUMS to advise that they wish to escalate their complaint. The provider will have 10 working days to object, where relevant, for example because the earlier stages of the process have not yet been exhausted.

An Independent Adjudicator will send MUMS a letter to confirm that they have received a complaint. They will then compile a chronology of events, identify the main points (‘key heads’) of the complaint and write to MUMS setting out their understanding of your complaint. The Independent Adjudicator will keep MUMS updated with progress, at a minimum, every 20 working days. The Independent Adjudicator will decide to uphold or not uphold each aspect of the complaint. They have the discretion to award a goodwill payment up to a limit of £5,000, in accordance with the ISCAS Goodwill Payments Guide.

There is no appeal to Stage 3 adjudication and the Independent Adjudicator’s decision is final. However complainants are able to seek legal action at any point during or after the ISCAS complaints process and their statutory rights are not affected. If patients are not satisfied with the way ISCAS has managed the stage 3 process they are entitled to make a complaint about ISCAS.

ISCAS

CEDR
3rd Floor
100 St. Pauls Churchyard
London
EC4M 8BU
020 7536 6091
info@iscas.org.uk

Confidentiality

All complaints must be treated in the strictest confidence.

Where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of the patient’s medical records, the Complaints Manager must inform the patient or person acting on his/her behalf if the investigation will involve disclosure of information contained in those records to a person other than the Practice or an employee of the Practice.

  1. If you have a complaint about any aspect of the service, care or treatment provided, please make this known to Stephanie Byrom, Director of Operations in the first instance. You may initially make this complaint in person, in writing or any other medium. Email: administrator@mums.me.uk. Either you or someone acting on your behalf may complain. Please supply name and full address for reference.
  2. Your complaint will be acknowledged in writing within 2 working days.
  3. We would ask you to confirm your complaint in writing as soon as possible to avoid any misunderstandings.
  4. After a full investigation you will be sent a letter of explanation within 20 working days. If investigations are still ongoing after that stage you will be sent a letter letting you know what is happening.
  5. If you are still not satisfied with our explanation then you are entitled to get in touch with ISCAS.