The College of Optometrists

Complaints procedure

C114
Effective complaint handling gives you the best opportunity to de-escalate the issue. If you run a GOC-registered business, you must have a clear complaints protocol and make patients aware of their channels of complaint.262
C115
You should encourage patients to comment on the services they have received.
C116
Feedback and complaints can be an opportunity to improve your service. You should use them to see how you can improve the services that you offer, and share lessons learnt from them.
C117
You should investigate feedback which gives rise to cause for concern as though it were a complaint.
C118
You should acknowledge a formal complaint within three working days in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and within two working days in Wales.263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269 
C119
If you provide NHS services, you must have a complaints procedure that you make available to patients.262, 230, 231, 232 A complaint that is made orally and is dealt with to the complainant’s satisfaction by the end of the next working day is not considered a complaint for this purpose. You should extend this procedure to private patients.
C120
You should make sure your complaints procedure:
  1. is clearly displayed to patients
  2. is easy for patients to use, and available in a format that they can understand 
  3. enables you to deal with complaints quickly and sensitively
  4. allows you to investigate complaints in a full and fair way
  5. maintains patient confidentiality
  6. gives clear outcomes for the patient
  7. contributes information to practice management and improvements.
C121
If a patient makes a complaint you are likely to need to access their record and use identifiable information. You should make patients aware of who will see information about them and your safeguards for minimising risks to confidentiality.
C122
You should keep a written log of complaints in order to monitor your performance in handling complaints and to identify possible areas for improvement.
C123
If the complaint relates to clinical care, you should keep a record of the patient complaint in the patient record.
C124
You should ensure that other members of the team for whom you are responsible:
  1. are familiar with the complaints procedure
  2. know how to deal with patients’ concerns and complaints
  3. know how to apologise and offer practical solutions.

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