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Complaints Procedure

Smith & Walker (Optometrists) Ltd pride ourselves on the quality of service that we offer to our patients. We endeavour to deliver a service whereby the likelihood of complaints being made is very low. Smith & Walker (Optometrists) Ltd will ensure we address any complaint we do receive courteously, fairly, expeditiously and appropriately and will implement lessons learned to improve the quality of our service in the interest of patients.

Smith & Walker (Optometrists) Ltd adheres to the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service (NHS) Complaints (England) Regulations 2009, and all local requirements on complaints management.

Complaints may be received about both NHS and private services. NHS complaints will relate only to GOS services (including sight tests and the issuing of optical vouchers) and other locally commissioned primary eye care services that we perform. Complaints pertaining to NHS services may made to our Complaints Manager or alternatively be made directly to NHS England Local Direct Commissioning Office (DCO) Team (see useful addresses below). They will tell you how they intend to handle your complaint. The DCO may deal with it itself or refer it to us, if you agree.

It is very important that we are aware of any potential complaints as soon as possible, ideally within a few days, or at the most a few weeks. Complaints can be accepted up to 12 months after the incident that gave rise to the complaint or came to the complainant’s notice. A complaint is not a complaint if it is made orally and is resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction within 24 hours. Nor may a complaint relate to a subject which has already been dealt with as a complaint and been resolved. A complaint may not refer to a failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

How to Complain

Informal Complaints - Most concerns can be resolved at the first point of contact by speaking to someone involved in your care. Our practice team will be happy to have the opportunity to resolve your problem as speedily as possible.

Formal Complaints - In the unlikely event that the problem cannot be resolved immediately, or if you do not wish to see the original member of staff who looked after you please ask to see the practice manager of the practice you attended. To allow us to fully understand your complaint we will complete a complaint form with you, so please provide us with as much information as possible about what has happened, when and who was involved, and how you would like us to resolve this matter.

Written Complaints – Written complaints should be addressed, in the first instance to the practice manager of the practice you attended. (see useful addresses below).

Alternatively, you may wish to ask for an appointment with one of our Directors to discuss your concerns: Mr C. Green; Dr R. Worfolk; Mr D. Wyndham; Dr L. Skaff

By their nature, written complaints, or any oral complaint that cannot be resolved within 24 hours to the complainant’s satisfaction will be a formal complaint. Our aim will be to investigate and find out what happened, review all procedures to identify what we can do to ensure that the problem doesn’t happen again, and resolve the complaint to the complainant’s satisfaction. We will adhere to the following procedure:

  • We shall acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days either orally or in writing.
  • If you wish we will explain to you in person our complaints procedure, how and when we will investigate and resolve your complaint. If you prefer, we will explain this in writing (response period).
  • We may contact you for more information during our investigation, and we will make it possible for you to discuss the problem with those concerned if you would like to do so.
  • After completing our investigation, we will write to advise you of how we have considered the complaint and what we propose to do to resolve it and any consequent action. Where appropriate we will make sure that you receive an apology.
  • We will aim to resolve your complaint within 6 months of the date when you raised it with us, although most complaints can be resolved much more quickly. We will try to do this within 10 working days of our initial acknowledgement of your complaint.
  • If we cannot resolve your complaint within 6 months we will write to explain why.
  • We will retain a written record of each complaint received, the subject matter, response period and the outcome of the investigation for each complaint. If your complaint pertains to our NHS services, you will be provided with a copy of the record of your complaint and we will also report it to the NHS England DCO Team.
  • In situations where a complaint develops into a serious incident – particularly when a patient becomes harmed or otherwise deemed at risk – Smith & Walker (Optometrists) Ltd will activate our serious incident policy. If a complaint implies negligence we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint but will consult with our representative body before attempting to resolve further.

Escalation Procedure

If you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint we will instigate an independent review by the Board of Directors of Smith & Walker (Optometrists) Ltd.

If a full review has been carried out and you are still unhappy with our response you have the right to complain to either the General Optical Council (clinical complaints), or the Optical Consumer Complaints Service (service or product related complaints) at the addresses shown below.

If we have investigated a complaint involving our NHS services, and you remain dissatisfied with the outcome you may wish to take the matter to the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO). (see useful addresses below).


We will adhere to the rules of clinical confidentiality in handling your complaint. We will need written permission that is signed by the person concerned to accept a complaint on behalf of someone else, unless they are incapable of providing this because of physical or mental illness. During our investigation staff and the complainant may have access to your health records when necessary.

Useful Addresses www.
‘For the attention of the Practice Manager’
Smith & Walker (Optometrists) Ltd
16 High Street
North Lincolnshire
DN18 5PD
01652 632315
‘For the attention of the Practice Manager’
Smith & Walker (Optometrists) Ltd
1 High Street
DN15 9PU
01724 733754
‘For the attention of the Practice Manager’
Smith & Walker (Optometrists) Ltd
2 Kennedy Way
DN40 2AE
01469 572702
The Complaints Manager with overall responsibility for ensuring compliance with the law is: Mr Christopher Green, Complaints Manager
Smith & Walker (Optometrists) Ltd
16 High Street
DN18 5PD
The Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS)
6 Market Square
Bishop’s Stortford
CM23 3UZ
0344 800 5071
The General Optical Council
41 Harley Street
020 7580 3898 (select option 2)
NHS England (DCO) Team
PO Box 16738
B97 9PT
0300 311 22 33
Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman
0345 015 4033

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