We try our best to get things right, but sometimes mistakes happen. When they do, it is vitally important to put things right as soon as possible, and to ensure that the same mistakes do not happen again.
If you have a concern about your care or treatment, or about any of our services, please:
- Talk to the member of staff who is with you at the time; they will be as helpful as possible and may be able to resolve your concerns straight away
- Contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service for immediate help, advice and support.
How to make a formal complaint
No one enjoys being ill or in hospital and we aim to provide a local acute health service second to none, but we really do need you to tell us when you feel we do not get it right, and when we can do better. If you have a complaint about the care or services you received, we will investigate your complaint thoroughly and if the complainant is a patient, ensure that your right to care, treatment or services is not compromised by your complaint. Where mistakes have occurred we will give you an explanation, an apology and say what action we have taken to prevent others experiencing the same problems.
Please write to:
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust,
Darent Valley Hospital,
Darenth Wood Road,
Kent, DA2 8DA.
Telephone: 01322 428436
Attend an informal meeting
We always do our best, sometimes under very difficult circumstances, but if you are unhappy with your visit to the hospital or the service you have received please let us know straight away. We may be able to set your mind at rest and change things to improve them for you and other patients.
The first port of call is to tell the person in charge of the ward or department of your worry or problem. If they can help they will be happy to do so and meet with you to discuss your concerns. You may also raise a concern or complaint informally by speaking to our PALS officer.
Patient Advice and Liaison officer (PALS)
You may prefer to speak to our PALS officer who is here to offer advice and support to patients and their relatives. She can sort out any day to day problems, address any concerns you have about your visit to the hospital or advise you on who to contact for help on a variety of issues.
If you do not want to talk to the staff directly caring for you or your relative, or wish to make a formal complaint, then please talk or write to Complaints Manager:
Your complaint will be processed in line with The Local Authority, Social Services and National Health Service (Complaints) Regulations 2009. We aim to acknowledge receipt of your complaint in writing within 3 working days.
When making your complaint it would help us if you could include the following details:
If you are making a complaint on behalf of someone other than yourself, the patient will have to give their written permission for you to raise the complaint. Complaints in relation to deceased patients are covered by a different set of regulations and we are required to obtain evidence of the complainant's relationship to the deceased. We will provide further infromation in our letter of acknowledgement. In this event, when we acknowledge your complaint, we will provide you with a Notice of Authority form for the patient to sign, together with a freepost envelope.
We will investigate your complaint thoroughly and we will send the Chief Executive's formal written response as soon as possible. If for any reason the investigation is unduly delayed, we will write to you explaining the reason for the delay.
If the Chief Executive's formal response fails to resolve your complaint, you can request that a local resolution meeting be arranged. This is the final stage of the local resolution process. If you require help in making your written complaint then an independent organisation called ICAS (Independent Complaints Advocacy Service) is available to support anyone in pursuing a complaint about the NHS. Your local contact is:
Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS)
ICAS Officers provide complainants with the information, advice and support needed to help them through the NHS Complaints Procedure. ICAS officers can explain the NHS Complaints Procedure and what to expect from it, and can advise on further options once a response has been received.
The level of support will depend on the needs of the client and can include assistance with writing a letter of complaint and attendance at any meetings arranged as part of the complaints procedure.
Independent review of complaints
If you are not satisfied with the results of the local resolution process, you can ask for an independent review of your complaint. Any request should be made within six months of receiving the Chief Executives letter of response or following receipt of the notes from the local resolution meeting. You should state clearly which parts of your complaint you are dissatisfied with and the reasons why you require an independent review of your complaint.
Please note that the Trust will consider all applications for an independent review on a case by case basis. Therefore, it is possible that there maybe occasions when the Trust will decline a request.
The Health Service Ombudsman
If you were to be dissatisfied with this response, then you would have the right to refer your complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman. They would require a clear statement of what issues remained outstanding. Referral to the Health Service Ombudsman should be made directly to the address given below.
The Health Service Ombudsman for England
However, before considering taking this step, we hope you would let us know what aspect of the complaint has not been dealt with satisfactorily and provide an opportunity for us to consider whether there is anything further that could be done locally to resolve matters.
Time limits to the making of a complaint
Because it becomes increasingly difficult to investigate a complaint with the passage of time it is important to use your right to complain as soon as possible after you become aware of the problem.
Under the complaints procedures, complaints should be received no more than twelve months after you become aware of a problem or an incident, all complaints received after this time frame will be considered by the Trust on an individual basis, depending on the circumstances.
If you are taking legal action or state that you intend to start legal action then you may not also use the NHS complaints procedure. If you stop the legal action (or there are outstanding issues that have not been resolved by the legal action), then you can still use the NHS complaints procedure to pursue your concerns.
Help us to help you
We hope we will, with your help, improve our services so that they match your expectations please help us to achieve this. If you would like to make a comment please complete the online feedback form.
Please also view our patient information leaflets.