Suggestions and Complaints

The Practices complaints procedure
The practice strives to provide a good service for all our patients. But despite our best efforts there are times when Patients are unhappy with their treatment and wish to complain. It is important to us that our Patients have confidence in how we deal with their concerns.

How to Complain

We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, often at the time they arise. However, If you do have a complaint please contact Briege Cahill, our Practice Manager, either in person, in writing or by telephone.
Briege will explain the complaints procedure to you and make sure that your concerns are dealt with promptly.
It would be most helpful for the practice if this were within a matter of days, or at most weeks, after the event. The Practice would expect complaints to be made:

  • Within 6 months of the date of the incident that caused the problem
  • Within 6 months of the date of discovering the problem, provided that is within 12 months of the incident

Complaints should be addressed to Miss Briege Cahill or is she is absent please address the complaint to Dr Damien Mc Gowan.

What We Will Do

We shall acknowledge your complaint within two working days and aim to have looked into your complaint within ten working days of the date you raised it with us. A copy of each complaint will be forwarded to all GPs. Written detailed notes of the complaint will be taken from those involved and compared with the notes from you. We shall then be in a position to offer you an explanation, or a meeting with the people involved.

Details and correspondence relating to the complaint will be kept in a separate file from your medical notes to ensure confidentiality.

Complaining on Some One Else’s Behalf

Please note that we keep to the rules of medical confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have their permission to do so. A note signed by the person concerned will be required.

Complaining to the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust

We hope that, if you have a problem, you will use our Practice Complaints Procedure. We believe this will give us the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and an opportunity to improve our Practice. But this does not affect your right to complain to the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust. If you feel you cannot raise your complaint with us or you are dissatisfied with the result of your investigation then you should contact the the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust Complaints Officer:

Mr Michael Cruikshanks
Complaints Officer
12-22 Linenhall Street


Patients wishing to make constructive or critical comments on the services provided by the practice should speak or write to the Practice Manager.

Patient’s Rights and responsibilities

What you should reasonably expect from the practice

You will be treated as an individual and will be shown courtesy and respect at all times, irrespective of your ethnic origins, religious beliefs, personal attributes, or the nature of your health problems. Staff will maintain your right to privacy and will not discuss your illness with other staff or doctors, within hearing distance of other people.

Your doctors and nurses will strive to see you within thirty minutes of your appointment time. Where this is not possible, you will receive an explanation for the delay upon request. If you need a repeat prescription, one will be provided within 24 hours, of your request, excluding weekends.

Patients needing to be seen urgently will be able to see a doctor within 24 hours; if you ask for a named doctor, this may take longer.

You have a right to a full explanation of your illness and any tests, investigations or consultations relating to that illness. You must inform us if you do not understand the explanation provided.

If you require a home visit or out of hours house call, the doctor will take the decision whether to make a visit or give advice over the telephone.
Lack of transport in itself is not a reason for a home visit.

The patients charter

The Government has given the Health Service quality standards, which are the rights of all patients. While we agree that these standards are important we do not feel they are achievable without the help of our patients. We would ask you then to read this section bearing in mind that we will keep to the standards set if you will give us the opportunity to do so.

We would appreciate if patients would:

  • Treat doctors and practice staff with courtesy
  • Remember an appointment is for one patient only
  • Be patient if doctor/nurse is running late
  • Do not expect prescriptions every time you see a doctor; they are quite often not necessary
  • Please follow the doctors advice and take the full course of any medication prescribed for you
  • Before requesting a home visit please think seriously whether it is necessary

Freedom of information act 2000

This Act became fully operational on 1st January 2005. Under the provisions of this Act any member of the public may request information from GP surgeries (as well as other public sector organisations). Should you need any information regarding this act please speak with the practice manager.

Information may be provided free of charge, however, if there are production costs such as photocopying and laser printing, there will be a nominal charge.

Violent Statement

In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary for the practice to remove patients from the practice list. Such examples are:

Unacceptable behaviour

From a patient that is directed towards any member of the primary healthcare team or towards patients or others on practice premises. For example:

  • Physical violence
  • Any type of verbal or physical abuse, including threats or gestures
  • Any type of discriminatory abuse
  • Intentional damage to practice premises
  • Sexual and racial harassment
  • Stalking
  • Inappropriate emotional attachment to the doctor
Crime and deception
  • Example – fraudulently obtaining drugs Deliberately lying to the doctor or other member of the healthcare team, by giving a false name or false medical history, in order to obtain a service or benefit by deception
  • A patient has moved out of the designated practice area but has failed to de-register with the practice

If you are to be removed from the practice list, you will be informed in writing of the practice decision and the reason for removal. You will also be given information on how to begin the process of registering with another practice.

If violence has been an issue, the Eastern Health and Social Services Board will have the responsibility for ensuring you receive primary care services, if necessary within a more secure setting.

Details of other primary medical services in the area may be obtained from

The GP Unit
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Champion House
12-22 Linenhall Street
Telephone Number: 028 90 321313