Videos to help private doctors comply with complaints

By Robin Stride

A new series of videos is on the way to help doctors and hospitals in the private healthcare sector comply with their responsibilities when patients make complaints.

Consultants and GPs working in more than 300 independent hospitals, clinics and other companies who subscribe to the Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS) are required to follow the body’s rules for complaint handling.

But in a rising number of cases the ISCAS Code has not been followed properly, leading to further dissatisfaction from patients who are well-aware of the correct procedures.

Now the complaints service has produced four new ten-minute training videos which it wants all doctors, managers and staff working in subscriber venues to watch and follow.

The videos, covering general complaint-handling principles under the ISCAS Code and stages one, two and three of complaints management procedures, are presented by ISCAS adjudicator Suzy Ashworth.

They will be published on 5 September by Baroness Fiona Hodgson, chairwoman of the ISCAS Advisory Board.


ISCAS said the films would provide subscribing providers with additional material to enhance complaints training and  familiarity with its code.

Subscribers will be able to access them using their subscribers log-in on the ISCAS website. 

High number of complaints

Sally Taber

ISCAS director Sally Taber told Independent Practitioner Today that,in the last year, there had been a high number of complaints about how complaints were being handled.

‘People haven’t been acting in adherence to the code. It’s a disappointment. There has been a level of misunderstanding by subscribers, but patients must have the assurance the code is going to be followed. 

‘If it is not followed, then it is not satisfactory for the patients. They are aware of what the code should be during the time-frames given and it is obviously inconvenient if these are not followed.

‘I think the videos will be useful. We’ve done them to ensure people understand the three stages and the time limitations the three stages have. Patients see the code and understand it and obviously it’s important they get what it says in the code. If the time limit is three days to reply to a complaint, then it must be three days.’

She said ISCAs would require all subscribers to sign up to having used the videos. 

‘We hope hospitals ensure their practitioners see these. We haven’t introduced any draconian measures if they don’t; we are just hoping they will be taken on board and be of benefit to private consultants and independent GPs.’