Complaints Policy

Complaints Policy

Complaints Policy & Procedures

As an independent healthcare service, The St Andrews Practice is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. Complaints can be directed to them at any time using the details below.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland
Independent Healthcare Team
Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9EB
T: 0131 623 4342


This policy exists to ensure everyone using our service is safe and protected. We aim to provide a clear procedure for complaints that enables service users and staff to express their views and experiences using clear and transparent methods. Staff and service users safety are protected under both the Management of Health & Safety Work Regulations (1999) and the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974)

The policy is a guideline for anyone who enters the practice itself or who interacts via other mediums such as telephone, email, and online contacts. This includes, staff, clinicians, associate clinicians, service users and members of the public who come into contact with the practice in any form.

We want to ensure that we provide a clear and responsive process in which complainants feel their needs have been responded to in an effective manner. We also seek to provide effective and considerate communication with complainants and give them choices with regards to how the complaint is dealt with. In addition, we emphasise the need to communicate effectively with complainants and involve them in decisions concerning the handling of their complaint.

The main aims of this policy are:

  • That individuals who wish to complain are treated with respect and empathy, and are listened to in full, with regards to the issue of dissatisfaction
  • That individuals who complain are not in any way disadvantaged as the result of making a complaint, and are treated with dignity and respect at all times
  • That complaints are pursued timeously and are thoroughly investigated with honesty, integrity and with full transparency
  • That all complaints are managed in a way that is fully compliant with data protection/data handling and confidentiality policies
  • That the individual who raised the complaint is appropriately updated on the progress of the complaint and given full disclosure of the outcome of any investigations
  • Where appropriate, sincere apologies should be provided, in writing, and any actions taken to rectify the situation should be implemented appropriately and timeously, with follow up evaluation
  • The service commits to actively improving/developing the service in response to complaints
  • That support is given to staff where they are implicated within a complaint


Dr Helen Galloway, Co-Director, is responsible for ensuring all staff are familiar with the complaints policy, and that they are able to inform service users of the process of how they can make a complaint.

Complaints from service-users, (or where applicable their parents /guardians), or third party professional or organisation about The St Andrews Practice

All staff should:

  • Be responsible for initially working to resolve any difficulties or concerns by communicating empathically and politely and considering any possible solutions
  • Staff should act swiftly to resolve any concerns to prevent them escalating and becoming more complicated or contentious
  • Listen carefully and ask for clarification when necessary so that a full understanding of the situation is attained.
  • Respond empathically and welcome complaints as a key method of improving the service
  • Apologies should be given in response to a complaint of poor service, regardless of eventual understanding of the event. This does not constitute admission of liability
  • Respond appropriately to the complaint, or refer the individual to someone who is able to respond or take appropriate action
  • Contact the practice manager if you cannot resolve the issue alone
  • Be aware that first interactions with regards to complaints can set the tone and influence the likelihood of escalation
  • Document the complaint raised with them in full
  • Handling complaints will feature in all staff induction programmes
  • The Practice Manager/Clinical Lead is responsible for ensuring that staff document details of all concerns and complaints raised, including how they were resolved


  • Complaints can be made in writing, via email, verbally in person, or over the telephone. These should be documented by the receiving member of staff and passed to the practice manager.
  • The Practice Manager must then contact the complainant within 24 hours (outwith weekends) to acknowledge the complaint and check it has been recorded accurately to prevent misunderstandings and establish expectations
  • All communications with the complainant should be documented in detail

The following options should be offered to the complainant in the first instance:

  • A conversation or telephone call with the Practice Manager, or Clinical Lead depending on content of the complaint
  • A written response from the Practice Manager, or Clinical Lead

If the individual is not satisfied with these options and whatever resolution is proposed, they should be informed that they can escalate their complaint to our regulatory body, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, and contact details should be provided. They are also entitled to contact a clinician’s profession specific regulatory body, if they wish (eg. General Medical Council, Health Care Professions Council)

Responding to complaints

  • Responses must be sent as soon as possible and maximum of 2 weeks after the complaint has been received.
  • They must clearly explain the findings of the investigation and any actions take to resolve the complaint
  • Any complaints, alongside the agreed actions should be logged on the Quality Improvement Database, contained securely on
  • Contact details should be provided for complainants to contact if they are dissatisfied with the outcomes. 

Complaints from Service-Users about self-employed clinicians.

These should follow the same process as outlined above in the first instance. In addition the Practice Manager, or designated Clinical Lead will alert the subject of the complaint, and meet with them to investigate the context of the complaint.

Escalated complaints should be directed to Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS).

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