(Version 4, Updated 19th July 2023)
This document and the information contained herein is the intellectual property of The Karri Clinic Ltd.
This document contains information that is privileged, confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure. It must not be used by, or its contents reproduced or otherwise copied or disclosed without explicit written consent of The Karri Clinic.
This Complaint Policy applies to the supply of medical services by The Karri Clinic Limited, Company Registration 08472103, of Suite 2A Albion Mills, Albion Lane, Willerby, HU10 6DN.
In the event of any inconsistency between this Complaints Policy and the contents of other documentation provided by The Karri Clinic to the Patient, this Complaints Policy shall prevail.
- The Karri Clinic (“TKC”) prides itself on providing Patients the best available care. We recognise there may be times when expectations are not met and if you are not satisfied with the service you have received at The Karri Clinic, it is your right to have your concerns investigated and to be given a full and prompt reply.
- By reporting concerns, Patients will help us make sure we have listened to what has been said and acted upon the feedback. This helps us create a culture of continuous quality improvement and improve the service we provide to Patients in the future. All complaints will be recorded in the TKC Complaints Register and learning points disseminated to the TKC Admin Team and healthcare professionals after every investigation.
- A complaint may be made by a Patient, a person acting on behalf of a Patient, or anyone who has been affected by any action/omission/decision of The Karri Clinic. Where a complainant is acting on behalf of a Patient, they must provide written consent from the patient before the complaints procedure is initiated.
- Where the patient has died, the complaint may be made by the named next of kin or by a person nominated by the named next of kin.
- The purpose of the Complaints Policy is to make it is easy for Patients or the person acting on their behalf, who are dissatisfied with our service, to lodge a complaint or provide constructive criticism.
- The Complaints Policy applies to both clinical and non-clinical complaints, and complaints about the performance of healthcare professionals working in TKC.
- Patients may be provided with a copy of the Complaints Policy at the time of their initial Consultation with the Surgeon. The Complaints Policy can also be downloaded from TKC website.
- The Karri Clinic Admin Team or healthcare professionals are not authorised to make any statements accepting responsibility or admitting liability, until the complaint has been fully investigated and statements have been authorised by the Managing Director.
- Complaints about the service of another clinic / hospital will not be investigated by TKC and the Patient will be referred to the appropriate organisation.
- We are aware that Patients may act out of character in times of frustration or distress and that there may have been upsetting or distressing circumstances leading up to a complaint. However, Patients who are angry, demanding, intimidating, unreasonable or acting in a vexatious manner will not be tolerated.
- Complaints relating to issues more than 6 months old will not be investigated.
- Rarely, a Patient may be declined for treatment following a first consultation. Reasons for this may include (but are not limited to);
- The Patient has made an unfounded complaint regarding their consultation or expressed dissatisfaction with their consultation.
- The Patient has posted misleading / false statements about TKC or the Surgeon online.
- The Patient has made an unfounded complaint regarding the pre-operative process.
- The Patient has been uncooperative.
- The Patient has used language that is considered intimidating, abusive, discriminatory or violent.
- The Patient refuses to engage in a second consultation at the request of the Surgeon.
The Patient will be informed of the decision and will not be permitted to use the Complaints Procedure to challenge the decision of the Surgeon or TKC.
- The Karri Clinic Complaints Procedure has three progressive stages:
- Stage 1 – Local Resolution
- Stage 2 – Internal Appeal
- Stage 3 – Independent External Adjudication
Stage 1 – Local Resolution
- At the Local Resolution stage, we aim to investigate and respond as quickly as possible.
- If a Patient makes a verbal complaint, TKC Admin Team will make every effort to resolve the complaint at that moment. If they cannot resolve the matter, the Patient will be instructed to complete the Online Complaint Form on TKC website, in order to initiate the Complaints Procedure.
- The Online Complaint Form provides a structured format for the submission of a complaint and ensures all the necessary information is received, thereby facilitating timely and thorough investigation.
- If the Patient makes a written complaint, the clinic Admin Team will direct the Patient to submit their complaint via the Online Complaint Form on TKC website. The Karri Clinic Admin Team will provide assistance if the patient has any difficulty in in completing the Online Complaint Form.
- If the complaint is about a Surgeon/Independent Practitioner, Patients should address their complaint to both TKC and the Consultant/Independent Practitioner.
- Upon receipt of the completed Online Complaint Form, TKC will send an email acknowledgement to the Patient within three working days.
- To determine if the complaint raised by the Patient is valid and can be resolved in Stage 1, the Clinic Manager will consider 4 factors;
- What exactly is the complaint? It is important we have a clear understanding of the complaint and may request further information from the Patient to get a full understanding of the issue.
- What does the Patient wish to achieve from the complaint? The outcome the Patient wants must be clarified at the outset in order to establish expectations, and whether they can be satisfied.
- Can the expected outcome be achieved in Stage 1 e.g. by way of apology or by another means?
- Can it be resolved immediately?
- If a Patient wishes to have an in-person meeting in the first instance to resolve their complaint, TKC will endeavour to arrange a meeting between the Patient and Clinic Manager. If, for whatever reason, the Clinic is unable to arrange a meeting, the investigation will still continue and a full written response will be provided to the Patient (see below). TKC reserves the right to decline an in-person meeting.
- The Karri Clinic will send a full written response within twenty working days of receipt of the complaint. In exceptional circumstances, where there are clear and justified reasons for doing so, the Clinic Manager may extend the timescale for Local Resolution and will explain the reason(s) for the delay, at a minimum every twenty working days.
- Patients that are unhappy with the written response may request escalation of their complaint to Stage 2, Internal Appeal. This request must be made in writing and directed to the Clinic Manager within four weeks of the date of the written response.
Stage 2 – Internal Appeal
- A complaint can be escalated to Stage 2 Internal Appeal under the following circumstances (includes but not limited to);
- The local resolution does not adequately address the complaint.
- There has been a failure to understand the root cause of the problem.
- The complaint relates to;
- a pattern or recurring problems or systemic issues that may warrant escalation.
- complex issues and a detailed investigation is warranted.
- dissatisfaction with the outcome of surgery.
- a personal injury claim.
- issues that have been identified as serious or high risk.
- violation of hospital policies or healthcare regulations.
- If a Patient requests their complaint is escalated to Stage 2, they must provide ‘clear articulable reasons’ for escalation, in writing to the Clinic Manager. For clarification, clear articulable reasons would involve (but not limited to) clearly stating the grounds or factors that justify the decision to escalate the complaint to Stage 2. These reasons should be logical, transparent, and easily understandable, allowing the Clinic Manager / Managing Director to comprehend why the complaint warrants further investigation. TKC reserves the right to determine what is considered ‘clear articulable reasons’, and accept or refute the request for escalation to Stage 2.
- Stage 2 will be conducted by the Managing Director, who will form an independent view of the complaint and respond directly to the Patient, either accepting or refuting the complaint.
- When a complaint has been escalated to Stage 2, the Patient will be sent an email acknowledgement within three working days, from the date they notified TKC of their wish to escalate to Stage 2.
- Patients will be provided with a full and final response as soon as possible but no later than twenty working days from the date they notified TKC of their wish to escalate to Stage 2.
- In exceptional circumstances, where there are clear and justified reasons for doing so, the Managing Director may extend the timescale for Stage 2 and will explain the reason(s) for the delay, at a minimum every twenty working days.
- If the complaint relates to the outcome of surgery, the responsible Surgeon will be asked to provide a response. If the Surgeon is unable to provide a response within twenty days because of personal circumstances, or is precluded from providing a response on the advice of their medical indemnity insurance provider, the Patient will be informed. In the case of the former, the Patient will be given an indication of when the Surgeon will provide a response.
- If the complaint relates to a personal injury claim or damage to property, The Karri Clinic reserves the right to refute any admission of liability.
- If the Patient indicates their intent to start litigation at any point during Stage 1 or 2, or TKC receives a ‘Letter of Claim’ or ‘Letter of Notification’, TKC reserves the right to terminate the Complaints Procedure and will inform the Patient.
Stage 3 – Independent External Adjudication
- Patients that remain dissatisfied with the outcome of Stage 2 Internal Investigation, have recourse to Independent External Adjudication.
- In this event, Patients must send written confirmation to TKC of their wish to seek Independent External Adjudication, within four weeks of the date of the final written response of the Stage 2 investigation. Escalation to Independent External Adjudication is only permissible if Stage 1 and 2 have been completed by TKC.
For Stage 3, Independent External Adjudication, Patients must write to;
Dispute Resolution Ombudsman
Premier House, First Floor, 1-5 Argyle Street, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG1 2AD
Tel: 0333 241 3209
Patients may also complain to the;
Care Quality Commission
Citygate, Gallowgate, Newcastle, NE1 4PA
Tel: 0300 061 6161
Management of Persistent Complainants or Those Behaving Unreasonably
- The Karri Clinic is committed to dealing with all complaints fairly and impartially, and will not normally limit the contact complainants have with the clinic. However, we do not expect our staff to tolerate unacceptable behaviour and will take action to protect staff from that behaviour, including that which is abusive, intimidating, offensive or threatening.
- The Karri Clinic defines unreasonable behaviour as that which hinders the consideration of a complaint because of the frequency or nature of the complainant’s contact with the clinic.
Examples of unreasonable behaviour includes, but is not limited to, a patient who:
- refuses to articulate their complaint or specify the grounds of a complaint or the outcomes sought by raising the complaint, despite offers of assistance.
- refuses to co-operate with the complaints investigation process.
- refuses to accept that certain issues are not within the scope of the complaints procedure.
- insists on the complaint being dealt with in ways which are incompatible with the complaints procedure or with good practice.
- introduces trivial or irrelevant information which they expect to be taken into account and commented on.
- raises large numbers of detailed but unimportant questions, and insists they are fully answered, often immediately and to their own timescales.
- makes unjustified complaints about staff who are trying to deal with the issues, and seeks to have them replaced.
- changes the basis of the complaint as the investigation proceeds.
- repeatedly makes the same complaint (despite previous investigations or responses concluding that the complaint is groundless or has been addressed).
- refuses to accept the findings of the investigation into that complaint where TKC complaint procedure has been fully and properly implemented and completed.
- seeks an unrealistic outcome and expressing an intention to pursue the complaint until that is achieved.
- makes excessive demands on TKC Admin Team’s time by frequent, lengthy and complicated contact with staff regarding the complaint, in person, in writing, by email and by telephone while the complaint is being dealt with.
- uses intimidating language.
- uses abusive, offensive or discriminatory language or violence.
- knowingly provides false information.
- publishes false or misleading information on social media or other public forums.
- Patients should try to limit their communication with TKC that relates to their complaint, while the complaint is being progressed. It is not helpful if repeated correspondence is sent (either by letter, phone or email), as it could delay the outcome being reached.
- The decision on whether a Patient is behaving unreasonably ultimately rests with the Managing Director and when possible, will discuss any concerns with the Patient informally before applying an ‘unreasonable’ marking. If the behaviour continues, the Managing Director will write to the Patient explaining which aspect of their behaviour is unreasonable, and what action The Karri Clinic will be taking. This may include, but is not limited to;
- Requesting that they communicate with TKC by email only.
- Requesting that they make contact with one particular named person.
- Restricting their telephone calls to specific days and times.
- Requesting they adhere to a ‘Code of Conduct’ that provides guidance on future behaviour.
- Informing them that TKC will terminate contact with immediate effect.
- TKC reserves the right to terminate contact with persistent complainants, patients that continue to demonstrate unreasonable behaviour or patients that fail to follow instructions as requested by TKC Admin Team or Managing Director.
Clinician and Provider Disclaimer
- It is important to remember that while all Surgeons and healthcare professionals must meet certain education, training and experience requirements to practice at The Karri Clinic, the clinic is not responsible for, nor agrees with, some of the opinions expressed independently via their personal platforms such as social media sites.