Ready to listen, ready to learn…
At Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust we aim to provide the best possible care to our patients but sometimes, despite our best efforts, things can go wrong.
If you are concerned, worried or unhappy with our services, we want to hear from you so that we can try to put things right as quickly as possible.
Talk to us first
We know that when things go wrong you want us to act quickly to put them right. If you are not happy with something:
- Tell a member of staff on the ward or in the clinic as soon as possible. If you are on a ward, ask to speak to the ward manager. If you are in a clinic, ask for help at reception. In most cases, staff will be able to deal with your concerns then and there.
- If this isn’t possible or your concerns are not resolved after taking to staff, contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). They will work with you to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible.
- In some cases, it may not be possible to deal with your concerns through PALS. If this happens, the PALS team will explain why and direct you to the complaints process.
You can be confident that your care will not be compromised by raising a concern or making a complaint.
Making a formal complaint
If it becomes necessary for you to make a complaint we ask that you submit your concerns in writing wherever possible. You can use this form to submit your complaint via email or post. If you need assistance with this, you can contact PALS or the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS):
By phone: 0330 440 9000
By email: email@example.com
By fax: 01424 204687
By text: 80800 keyword SEAP
Or in writing at: SEAP Hastings, Upper Ground Floor, Aquila House, Breeds Place, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 3UY
Contact the Trust’s complaints team at:
Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
Maidstone ME16 9QQ
Phone: 01622 226406
To ensure that we are able to investigate your concerns without delay, please ensure you provide:
- Your name, correspondence address and daytime telephone number
- The patient’s full name, date of birth and hospital number (if known)
- If you are making a complaint on behalf of someone else, we will need their consent for you to act on their behalf. If the patient is over 18 and able to make decisions for themselves, you can ask them to countersign your complaint to confirm they are happy for you to make the complaint. Alternatively, we can provide a form for this purpose on receipt of your complaint. If your complaint is being made on behalf of a child, we will need a parent or guardian’s consent to respond.
- Include as much detail in your complaint as possible. Remember to include names of staff, locations, dates and times of events if you are able to. If you have specific questions that you want answers to, it is helpful for you to list them.
- Tell us what outcome you are looking for. This will help us resolve your concerns to your satisfaction.
You can also find out more information in the Complaints and PALS Annual Report and Programme, 2019/20.
British Sign Language video on how to complain
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has developed a useful video for people with hearing difficulties. View the video, Tips on making a complaint to the NHS in England, below.
What happens next?
We will review the content of your complaint and the outcome you are seeking. At this stage, we may decide that the quickest and most appropriate way of resolving your complaint would be to refer it to PALS. If this happens, the PALS team will contact you directly to advise what action they propose to take.
If it is more appropriate for us to deal with your complaint formally, we will acknowledge receipt and investigate the issues you have raised. In most cases, we aim to respond to you in full within 25 working days. However, if your complaint is particularly complex or involves other organisations, we may require more time to respond. Where possible, we will identify this at the outset.
We will usually respond to complaints in writing, however, in some situations, we may feel that a meeting with staff would be beneficial. If you would like us to consider arranging a meeting with staff, please let us know.
We keep a formal record of all complaints which are held separately to any medical records. Anonymous summaries of complaints we have responded to can be found here.
What if I’m still not happy?
We want you to be satisfied with the outcome of your complaint. If we do not achieve this with our first response to you, we would like you to tell us so that we can do more to help resolve your concerns. This might require another letter or in many cases, it is possible for us to arrange a meeting with senior staff to discuss your complaint further.
If you are unhappy with the way we have dealt with your complaint, or if your complaint cannot be resolved by us, you have the right to approach the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and ask for a review of your case. The Ombudsman is independent of the NHS. We will send you further details of how to contact the Ombudsman when we respond to your complaint.
Other useful links
The complaints team are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the process of making a complaint about Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. However, there are other sources of information available including:
Phone: 0808 801 0102
Text: 07525 861 639
Write to: FREEPOST RTLG-UBZB-JUZA, Healthwatch Kent, Seabrooke House, Church Road, Ashford, TN23 1RD
The Patients Association
Phone: 0845 608 4455
Write to: The Patients Association, PO Box 935, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3YJ