Complaints Policy and Procedure

The Smithville Family Health Team (SMC FHT) is committed to providing a high quality service to everyone we deal with. In order to do this we need you to give us any comments about our service, and to tell us when we get things wrong. We want to help you resolve your complaint as quickly as possible.
We treat as a complaint any expression of dissatisfaction with our service that calls for a response. We listen to your complaints, treat them seriously, and learn from them so that we can continuously improve our service, and incorporate them into our policies as necessary.

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not.

Our policy covers complaints about:

  1. the standard of service we provide
  2. the behaviour of our staff, and
  3. any action or lack of action by staff affecting an individual or  group

Our complaints policy does not cover

  1. comments about our policies or policy decisions
  2. matters that have already been fully investigated through this complaints procedure, or
  3. anonymous complaints.

Our standards for handling complaints

  • We treat all complaints seriously, whether they are made by telephone, by letter, by fax, or by email.
  • You will be treated with courtesy and fairness at all times. We would hope, too, that you will be courteous and fair in your dealings with our staff at all times.
  • We will treat your complaint in confidence within the Clinic.
  • We will deal with your complaint promptly. We will acknowledge receipt of a written complaint within five working days and we will send you a full reply within 20 working days of receipt. If we cannot send a full reply within 20 working days of receipt we will tell you the reason why and let you know when we will be able to reply in full.
  • We will not treat you less favourably than anyone else because of your:
  • sex or marital status: this includes family status, responsibility for dependants, and gender (including gender reassignment, whether proposed, commenced or completed)
  • sexual orientation
  • colour or race: this includes ethnic or national origin or nationality
  • disability
  • religious or political beliefs, or trade union affiliation, or
  • other unjustifiable factors, for example language difficulties or age.

All complaints received will be dealt with confidentially and in accordance with the requirements of the data protection act 1998.

You can make a complaint in a number of ways:

  • By telephone
  • By email
  • In writing or letter
  • By fax

It will help us to resolve your complaint quickly if you can give us as much clear detail as possible, including any documents and correspondence and stating that you are making a complaint in line with our procedure.

Timescales for handling a complaint

Stage 1– maximum 20 working days
Acknowledgement within 5 working days
Full response within 20 working days

Stage 2– maximum 20 working days
Acknowledgement within 5 working days
Full response within 20 working days

Extending time limits
We aim to complete all complaints within the timescales above; however, if a complaint is very complex it may occasionally be necessary to extend the time limit.  If this is the case we will keep the complainant informed of progress with the investigation, the reasons for the delay, and inform them of the new deadline.

When we get things wrong we will act to:

  1. accept responsibility
  2. explain what went wrong and why, and
  3. put things right by making any changes required.

The action we take to put matters right (ie redress) in response to a complaint, can include any combination of the remedies set out in the “menu” below.  The general principle we follow is that a complainant should, so far as possible, be put in the position he or she would have been in, had things not gone wrong.

The remedy chosen needs to be proportionate and appropriate to the failure in service, and take into account what people are looking for when they complain.  An apology is normally appropriate, but other action may also be necessary.

  • A sincere and meaningful apology, explaining what happened and or what went wrong.  Remedial action, which may include reviewing or changing a decision on the service given to an individual complainant
  • Provide service desired by complainant (immediately, if appropriate)
  • Putting things right (for example change of procedures to prevent future difficulties of a similar kind, either for the complainant or others)
  • Training or supervising staff; or any combination of these

Quality of service is an important measure of the effectiveness of a business. Therefore we believe that learning from complaints is a powerful way of helping to develop and increase trust among the people who use our services. As well as learning from your complaints we are also interested in other ideas you may have on how we might do things better. We would also like you to tell us when we do things well. If you have a comment to make about our policy decisions, it will be addressed by the team concerned as rapidly as possible.

You can make your comments by telephoning or writing to the Executive Director, or you can email us. We will use your comments to help improve our service and the way we do things. However, the two-stage procedure outlined above does not apply to comments.

You can make your comments by telephoning or writing to any members of our staff, or you can e-mail us. We will use your comments to help improve our service and the way we do things.

We will log all complaints we receive so that we can monitor the types of problems, the best way to sort them out and how long we are taking to deal with them. This also helps us to take a closer look at how we can improve our own service delivery.

We will handle your information in line with data-protection legislation.

All complaints and requests for review under our complaints procedures should be sent by one of the following methods:

Tel: (905) 957-3328

Fax:     (905) 957-2475
Mail: Smithville Medical Centre Family Health Team
Complaints, c/o Wendy Fisher
PO Box 218
L0R 2A0