Complaints and Concerns Policy

Whilst we hope that our group efforts to understand the pain and vulnerability of our clients will minimise the need for formal complaints and that misattunements will be able to be processed in therapy, it is nevertheless important we have a robust policy that understands the sensitivities of all patients as well as protecting staff.

To deal with the power imbalance between patient and therapist, unlike many psychotherapy organisations, when a patient feels they do not have a comfortable “fit” with their designated therapist, we do arrange for a change where possible if we feel that is Clinically indicated.

All clinical staff belong to professional accrediting bodies and adhere to the code of ethics from these bodies which include the HCPC, UKCP, BPC, ACP and the BACP amongst others. All have enhanced DBS checks.

All administrative staff follow the Clinic Code of Ethics and have regularly updated DBS checks.

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with a service or treatment, which has
personally affected an individual or family and which requires an investigation and a formal response to promote resolution between the parties concerned. It is
usually historical (i.e. happened in the past) and cannot be immediately remedied but sometimes it is current and can be remedied to the complainant’s satisfaction

A concern is an expression of worry or disquiet about an event or incident or treatment which is usually current and can often be remedied to the individual’s satisfaction within a short period of time.

Our Process for Addressing Complaints and Concerns

In the event of any client wishing to make a complaint concerning any member of CDS UK (Clinic for Dissociative Studies), whether administrative, clinical or educational:

  • The client needs to write in the first instance to the Director, CDS UK, stating the complaint.
  • If the complaint concerns the Director, the complainant can address their initial letter to the Clinic Management Committee (CMC) which will allocate a senior staff member to deal with the complaint.
  • Within 28 days there will be a formal response acknowledging receipt of the complaint and providing details of the next step.
  • The possible next steps are for a withdrawal of the complain following discussion, the complaint being reduced to an informal mediation, or the need to take it further.
  • If the complaint cannot be satisfactorily dealt with in writing alone or by a meeting with the Director, or member of the CMC, then another member of CMC will be allocated.
  • If the nature of the complaint requires a more formal evaluation and investigation then an Investigating Officer will be appointed who will be an external Consultant to CDS UK, independent of the CMC.
  • The complainant can choose a friend or colleague to be present with them at the discussion of the complaint.
  • The staff member complained about can choose a friend or colleague to be present with them at any investigation of the complaint
  • The complainant and the staff member complained about do not have to meet each other in person unless both consider this would be helpful. In such a circumstances both could choose a friend or colleague to be present.
  • In the event of the formal meeting or the findings of the Investigating Officer not answering the complaint to the complainant’s satisfaction then the complainant has available to them the processes of the ethical body of the relevant professional and accrediting organisations.
  • In less serious cases, CDS UK might request the staff member to have further supervision and/or treatment and/or to withdraw from teaching, administrative or Clinical practice.
  • In the event of the Investigating Officer considering there was a serious act or acts of malpractice the Investigating Officer will inform the ethics board of the professional body for the staff member.
  • All CDS UK staff, including the member complained about, will be informed of the results of the investigation. Any findings will be incorporated into CDS UK’s future practice.

We guarantee to:

  • Have a copy of this complaints policy available to all relevant parties as per page 1 of this policy document, on request.
  • Explain to patients/clients how to make a complaint.
  • Acknowledge the complaint or concern.
  • Confirm and clarify the issues to be addressed.
  • Agree the process which will be undertaken, obtaining consent where necessary.
  • Conduct a neutral investigation as required, following nationally accepted guidelines.
  • Ensure that investigations are completed on time and to a satisfactory standard.
  • Keep correspondence received from and sent to the complainant (including the letter of complaint, acknowledgement and response), together with any other relevant correspondence between any parties about matters related to the complaint including a copy of the consent form, if appropriate, copy of notes of interviews with staff or staff statements, if appropriate, copy of the report of the investigation if this contains additional information to the final response and a copy of notes taken at any mediation or resolution meetings.
  • This will include copy of the relevant section from Clinical records, together with any other Clinical information, if appropriate, file notes, emails etc. relating to any communications in respect of the complaint.
  • The investigating officer will be a senior member of staff who may work within our service and will understand how to carry out an investigation. In certain situations, particularly if serious allegations are made as part of the complaint, it may be necessary for a senior member of staff from another service to take on the role of Investigating Officer. This may need to be external to CDS UK in exceptional circumstances.
  • Patients/clients should be aware that all material relating to a complaint would be made available to an Investigating Officer (subject to ethical and Clinical considerations).
  • CDS UK will ensure that a patient’s care is not negatively affected and that a patient is not disadvantaged because of having made a complaint.
  • Complaints can be made by existing or former service users and their families or carers
  • In the event of a patient not being able to make a complaint personally we will hear a complaint sent on their behalf by an advocate or friend
  • We recognise that CDS UK also has a duty to act fairly towards staff involved in the events in question.
  • We aim to respond in a proportionate, appropriate and fair manner.
  • We aim to have an accessible way of dealing with complaints to ensure that complaints are dealt with efficiently and as quickly as possible.
  • We require that complainants are treated courteously and sympathetically and are involved in decisions about how their complaints are handled and considered.
  • We aim to ensure that patients, their relatives and carers are assured that where appropriate, we will makes changes to ensure improvements in service delivery.