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Optical Confederation
GOS Complaints

Updates

Background

Our guidance on providing eye care in the UK offers an overview of eye care service provision in the UK and includes how you can provide NHS General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) and comply with local requirements. This additional guidance helps ensure your GOS complaints system is compliant with local requirements.  

England

As a GOS contractor you must adhere to the NHS Complaints system regarding both the provision of NHS sight tests and locally commissioned eye care services. You must hold a complaints policy, designate a complaints manager and inform the public of this policy via notice or leaflet. Staff should also be trained and aware of the policy. Complaints should be kept separate to patient records, the number received reported annually to the NHS and the associated paperwork kept for two years.

Northern Ireland

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety guidance document 'Complaints in Health and Social Care: Standards and Guidelines for Resolution and Learning' outlines a complaints process that applies equally to all Health and Social Care (HSC) organisations. Optical practices, especially staff who handle complaints, should refer to this HSC guidance.

Scotland

Contractors in Scotland must establish and operate a complaints procedure to deal with complaints by, or on behalf of, patients. The complaints procedure must:

1.    Specify the person responsible for receiving and investigating complaints state that all complaints shall be:

a.   recorded in writing

b.   acknowledged (orally or in writing) within three days (excluding weekends and public holidays)

c.   properly investigated

2.    State that the complainant should be given a written summary of the investigation and its conclusions within 10 working days (excluding public holidays and weekends)

3.    Advise the patient if patient records need to be accessed to investigate the complaint

4.    Keep a record of the complaints and copies of correspondence (separate from the eye examination record)

5.    Provide information surrounding the complaints procedure to patients.

The complaints procedure is outlined in Schedule 1 paragraph 11 of the GOS Regulations.

Wales

Contractors in Wales must establish and operate a complaints procedure to deal with complaints by, or on behalf of, patients. The complaints procedure must:

1.    Specify the person responsible for receiving and investigating complaints

2.    State that all complaints shall be:

a.   recorded in writing acknowledged (orally or in writing) within two days (excluding weekends and public holidays)

b.   properly investigated

3.    State that the complainant should be given a written summary of the investigation and its conclusions within 20 working days (excluding public holidays and weekends)

4.    Advise the patient if patient records need to be accessed to investigate the complaint

5.    Keep a record of the complaints and copies of correspondence (separate from the eye examination record)

6.    Provide information surrounding the complaints procedure to patients.

The complaints procedure is outlined in section 8 GOS Contract Regulations 1986.

Updates

Originally published: September 2018

Reviewed: January 2020

Next review date: January 2022

Info: Reviewed as part of FODO's website upgrade, with an overview now provided in providing eye care in the UK (see practice owner's hub) and additional detail provided here. No material changes made to content.  

Reference and notes

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