Our aim is to provide a high standard of service to all of our patients.
You can help us achieve this by:
- Ensuring that any appointments you make are kept. If you are unable to attend, please let us know as soon as possible, as we often have patients waiting for cancellations
- Making one appointment per person
- Arriving on time for your appointment or letting us know if you are going to be late. While we will make every effort to accommodate you if you are late, you may have to wait and have a shortened appointment
- Attending for monitoring when the doctor has advised that it is necessary
- Behaving with courtesy and consideration for others when you are in the Practice
- Having consideration for others and refraining from using your mobile phone on the premises
- Ensuring children are supervised at all times
Violence and Abusive Behaviour
The Practice is committed to ensuring that our staff treat our patients with dignity and courtesy at all times. We expect our patients to treat staff in the same manner.
We support the NHS zero tolerance policy with regard to violent and abusive behaviour and the Practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and others.
The definition of violence is not limited to physical assault / injury; it also includes verbal aggression and rude / offensive language and is defined by the Health & Safety Executive as “any incident, in which an employee is abused, threatened or assaulted by a member of the public in circumstances arising out of the course of his or her employment”.
The Practice is committed to the firm pursuit, through the PSNI, if necessary of those who threaten or intimidate members of staff.
Policy For Confidentiality
Drs Ryan & Partners have a general duty of confidentiality to their patients, staff and Practice business. This policy will apply to everyone in the practice and for other professional staff working for the practice.
All information concerning patients, staff (in connection with their employment) and the Practice business is strictly confidential and must not be disclosed to those who are not entitled to receive it in the course of their duties.
A breach of confidentiality constitutes gross misconduct and may result in dismissal, subject to the provisions of the Practice disciplinary procedures.
Non-medical staff in the Practice have received similar guidance on these matters via their contracts and handbooks of terms and conditions of service. In particular, they have been made aware of doctors’ responsibilities in the maintenance of confidentially and that they should not disclose confidential patient information without the consent of the patient’s doctor.
This general duty of confidentiality does not affect our statutory rights under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, to make disclosures of otherwise confidential information without being dismissed or otherwise subjected to a detriment. However, it is expected that matters we are concerned about should normally be raised within the Practice in the first instance. Such matters (eg about the safety of patient care) may be raised with any partner.
Freedom of Information
You can download a copy of our Freedom of Information Leaflet here
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was passed on 30 November 2000. It gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, with full access granted in January 2005. The Act sets out exemptions to that right and places certain obligations on public authorities.
FOI replaced the Open Government Code of Practice, which has been in operation since 1994.
Suggestions & Complaints
If you have a complaint or are concerned about the treatment received from the doctors or any of the staff working in this Practice, please let us know.
How to complain
We hope that most of the problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, usually at the time they arise and with the person concerned. If your problem cannot be sorted out in this way and you wish to make a complaint, please do so as soon as possible (ideally within a few days) as this will help us find out what happened more easily.
Although you should try to make your complaint as soon as possible, we can consider complaints made within 6 months of the date of discovering the problem, provided this is not longer than 12 months after the event. If it is clearly unreasonable in the circumstances to make a complaint earlier and where it is still possible to investigate the facts of the case, we can consider extending this time limit.
Complaints should be addressed to the Practice Business Manager or any of the doctors. Alternatively, you may ask for an appointment to discuss your concerns directly.
What we shall do
We will acknowledge your complaint, normally within three working days of receipt, and aim to respond to the issues raised within 10 working days. Should the complaint take longer than this to resolve, we will inform you accordingly. We shall then be in a position to offer an explanation, or a meeting with those involved. In investigating your complaint, we shall aim to:
- Find out what happened and what went wrong
- Enable you to discuss the problem with those concerned or a nominated person
- Identify what we can do to make sure the problem does not happen again.
- Ensure you receive an apology, where this is appropriate
Anonymised copies of all written complaints and our responses will be forwarded to the Health & Social Care Board within three working days of our written response being issued to you.
Complaining on behalf of someone else
You can also complain on someone else’s behalf, although you will need their consent. A signed letter from the patient authorising you to act on their behalf will be required. If it is not possible for the patient to consent, the complaint can be brought by an advocate.
Complaining to the Health & Social Care Board
We hope that, if you have a problem, you will make use of our Practice-based complaints procedure. We believe this will provide the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and an opportunity to improve our practice. If despite this you are dissatisfied with the result of our investigation or you do not feel comfortable speaking to any of our Practice staff, you may seek advice from the:
Health & Social Care Board
12-22 Linenhall Street
Belfast BT2 8BS
Switchboard Tele Number: 0300 555 0115
Complaints Hotline: 028 9536 3983
An information leaflet is available explaining how your concerns will be handled and contact details for the Patient and Client Council who also offer support for complainants, if required. Their Headquarters are at:
Patient and Client Council
1st Floor, Ormeau Baths
Belfast BT2 8HS
Tel: 028 90321230
Freephone: 0800 9170222
In the event that these measures have not resolved the issue, you can refer your complaint to the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints (the Ombudsman) at:
Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman
33 Wellington Place
Belfast BT1 6HN
Tel: 028 9023 3821
Freephone: 0800 343424
Complaints about Trust staff, Community Services or the building
Certain professionals such as the Treatment Room nurses, district nurses,health visitors and Community Services are contracted by South Eastern Health & Social Services Trust and they are responsible for dealing with any complaints relating to these employees.
The building is owned and maintained by the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust.
Any complaints about Trust staff, Community Services or the building itself should be addressed to: The Complaints Patient Liaison Department, Health & Care Centre, 39 Regent Street, Newtownards BT23 4AD, tel: 028 9056 1427, email: firstname.lastname@example.org