Osteopathic Practice Support

Complaints Policies

Theme D of the Osteopathic Practice Standards stipulates that you must have a complaints policy and that you must respond quickly and appropriately to any that arise.


A complaint is an opportunity to reflect on the communication and standard of care that was given, and it may highlight areas of your practice that could be improved. A complaint which is handled well can also result in a stronger bond of trust between you and your patient, leading to improved patient care.


In the event of a concern being raised, if you act constructively, allow patients the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction, and provide sensitive explanations of what has happened and why, you may resolve this at an early stage.


You should provide information to patients about how they can make comments, complaints and compliments about the service they have received.


You should make sure that your staff are familiar with your complaints policy and know to whom they should direct any patient complaint.


You should inform your professional indemnity insurers immediately if you receive a complaint.


You should ensure that anyone making a complaint knows that they can refer it to the GOsC, and provide them with appropriate details explaining the procedure.

It's all very well to say that a complaint "is an opportunity to reflect" and build "a stronger bond between you and your patient", but the reality is that complaints can be very stressful indeed, especially if they are referred to the GOsC.

Your best policy is to make sure that you have done everything by the book, with the patient's best interests at heart.

Here are the 3 key elements of Theme D to have in place:

  1. Have an accessible complaints policy.  Use one of the documents below as the basis for that policy if you wish.
  2. Make sure patients know how to complain, including the fact that they can refer it to the GOsC.  Therefore, at some point in their "journey" make sure patients have been told where to find the policy.  The obvious time to do this is when they first present at your clinic, as part of their new patient processing.
  3. Make sure that all your team (if you have one) knows what the policy is, so that they can advise patients accordingly.  You might want to include your complaints policy in a practice handbook. 


Feel free to edit any of these documents to suit your own needs.  They're downloadable in MS Word format.

If you'd like help with anything, just get in touch ([email protected] or 01933 328154).  We'd be happy to sort things out for you, so that you can get on with your job.  We don't just give advice - we try to provide you with a solution!