Working with doctors Working for patients

Comments and complaints

This page explains the process for giving feedback, including complaints, to the GMC.

Cymraeg

If you have a complaint about a doctor please visit our Concerns about doctors webpage.

Our service promise

We want to give you the best possible service and your feedback helps us to do that. In line with our organisational values we will:

  • Be open, honest and fair
  • Be polite, professional and treat you with respect
  • Listen to what you tell us and learn from it
  • Understand and meet your needs and communicate with you in a way that’s right for you
  • Keep our processes efficient and effective.

If you want to feedback on any part of your experience with the GMC, whether good or bad, we want to hear from you.

Comments, compliments and complaints are important to us, they help us understand what works well and give us an opportunity to improve. And where things have gone wrong, we want to put them right.

What we expect from you

We treat every complaint on its merits, regardless of who has made the complaint. We act honestly and treat all complainants fairly and with respect.

And in return, we expect everyone who contacts us to be polite and courteous. If customers are persistently rude, threatening or abusive, make offensive or discriminatory remarks, we may withdraw or restrict our service.

How to give us feedback

We will make reasonable adjustments for you if you have accessibility needs or a disability, for example, we can take feedback over the phone. Please let our staff know if you have any particular needs and we will do our best to make our feedback process accessible.

If possible please raise your feedback with the member of staff you have been dealing with, as they may be able to resolve your issue upfront.

Otherwise you can give feedback by:

  • by phone
    • inside the UK: 0161 923 6602
    • outside the UK: +44 161 923 6602
  • Textphone users: please use the Text Relay Service; dial the prefix 18001 + 0161 923 6602
  • Using a representative: We will ask you to confirm that you are happy for that person to act for you, and we will deal with them directly until we have completed the investigation of your complaint. You can tell us at any stage if you no longer want the person to represent you.

What is a customer complaint?

A customer complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction about our services where a response or resolution may or may not be expected. Complaints can be made verbally or in writing

Sometimes we get things wrong, or may be unable to help you in the way you would like. So we’ve created a customer complaints process that covers feedback about:

  • a procedure or policy
  • the way we have communicated with you
  • the actions of our staff
  • any service we have provided that you feel wasn’t satisfactory.

Complaints about our Welsh Language Scheme

If you have a complaint about the welsh language service we provide, in accordance with our Welsh Language Scheme, please contact our GMC office in Wales.

When your complaint might be redirected

In circumstances where:

We may not be able to deal with it under our customer complaints process but we’ll re-direct it to the appropriate team, and let you know that we’ve done this.

What customer complaints do not cover

  • Complaints about doctors are separate to customer complaints. You can find information on how to complain about a doctor on the Concerns about doctors.
  • Requests for information under the Data Protection Act or Freedom of information Act. See the Accessing information.

What information we need from you

When making a complaint or feeding back about the GMC please tell us:

  • what happened (including any reference numbers we have given you)
  • why you are complaining or feeding back
  • what your expectations are from providing the feedback
  • if you are a doctor, your GMC registration number

How we will handle your complaint

Complaints can be made via any of the methods mentioned in the ‘How to give us feedback’ section above. We aim to resolve complaints at Stage 1, wherever possible, but if you aren’t happy with our response we may take it through our three stage complaints process.

Acknowledgement

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint as soon as possible, although this may take up to five working days.

Initial assessment

We will assess your complaint to make sure we send it to the most appropriate person to respond. We’ll record it and give it a unique complaint number, so that we can track the progress of your complaint.

Stage 1 - Complaint investigation

Once your complaint is with the appropriate person, we will investigate it with help from the relevant team. At this stage we will also identify and record any improvement opportunities, and share these with our colleagues.

Resolution

When the investigation is over, we will send a response by email unless you’ve requested another format. We aim to do this within ten working days of the date we received your complaint. If a delay is likely we will let you know as soon as possible.

Stage 2  – Further response

Should you not be satisfied with our response at Stage 1, your complaint will be referred for further investigation and response. At this stage your complaint may be referred to a senior manager in the business area complained about or to an independent colleague with an impartial view from another area of the GMC.

Resolution

Once your complaint has been considered, you will receive a response by email unless you’ve requested another format. We aim to do this within ten working days from the date we received notification that you are not satisfied with the Stage 1 response. If a delay is likely we will let you know as soon as possible.

Stage 3 - Final response

If we haven’t reached a resolution at Stage 1 or Stage 2, we may send your complaint to Stage 3, our Corporate Review Team (CRT). The CRT has overall responsibility for the customer complaints process and will liaise with the relevant area of the organisation to investigate and coordinate a final response.

The CRT will take an independent view on the matters surrounding the complaint and will write to you to inform you of the outcome.

If the CRT decides that no further action is necessary, unless you raise any new information, we will consider your complaint closed. 

Confidentiality

  • We recognise that your personal data is important to you, and we are committed to holding it safely, and using it appropriately.
  • We maintain complaint records electronically. Where personally identifiable information is recorded it is used for the purpose of investigating and resolving a complaint, or dealing with the wider process in which the complaint was raised. It is stored and processed by the GMC in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
  • We report on complaints regularly to understand and improve the performance of our complaints process and of our services. Such reports are not usually published outside of the GMC. Personally identifiable information is excluded from all reports that we proactively publish to preserve the confidentiality of those involved.
  • The information may be used by different teams at the GMC. We may also share your personal data with other parties if required by law, where ordered by a court, or where it is otherwise in the public interest (for example for research purposes). Where possible, data will be anonymised or aggregated before we share it with any other party.

Policies

Download the full version of our customer complaints policy (pdf).

We also have policies on: