Complaints Policy

Semovo recognises the value of direct communications with donors and other service users. Whilst continuously striving to improve services, Semovo accepts that causes for concern can arise. Semovo sees constructive comments, suggestions and complaints as part of the process of maintaining and developing good quality reflective services.

In view of this, Semovo aims to deal with complaints as quickly, appropriately and as close to the source of the problem as possible. The organisation’s open culture aims to empower all staff, with the support of the Executive team, to deal with “complaints” (problems) informally at the point of service delivery.   

 In addition, by having a lean, open organisation Semovo believes it is easy

  • for all staff to receive formal complaints and feed them into the complaints procedure,
  • for complainants to receive a rapid, open, conciliatory response which meets the needs of the complainant whilst being fair to staff,
  • for complaints to have a high profile within the organisation,
  • and for complaints to be used as a means of providing information to management in order to improve the services provided, where appropriate. 

Organisational Responsibilities

Semovo’s responsibilities in handling complaints are to:

  • Investigate complaints against the organisation itself and the service it provides by local resolution or formal investigation as per the wishes of the complainant.
  • Provide support to all its staff at local resolution stage
  • Co-operate with any investigation requested by the HFEA or CQC
  • Co-operate with any investigation carried out by the Independent review Panel or the Health Service Ombudsman

The Directors are ultimately responsible for the quality of care within the organisation and is responsible for ensuring that all complaints are responded to in writing by senior management and for ensuring lessons learned are implemented.

Semovo will receive reports and discuss the cause of complaints at monthly staff meetings as required and at the annual quality review meeting.


The continued development of effective complaints handling function will be implemented in line with the organisations Clinical Governance Structure and strategy. 

Financial Redress

Although compensation would normally need to be sought through legal channels, the organisation has the discretion to provide financial reimbursement of expenses or losses where fault has been found. For example, reimbursement of lost property.

Access to health records

Where copies or access to records is provided as a part of the resolution of a complaint, these will be provided promptly and free of any charge, and in accordance with Data Protection Act. 

Resolution of Complaints

Semovo undertakes to investigate all complaints and incidents thoroughly and promptly.

Any complainant who remains dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation has the right to refer to the Independent review panel and the Health Service Ombudsman.

Complaints about Semovo and the services it provides should be dealt with as follows:

  • Staff are encouraged to deal with concerns and request for information to which they can provide an immediate response.
  • Where this is not possible Semovo must acknowledge receipt of a complaint and offer to discuss the matter within 2 working days.
  • Agree with the complainant the manner in which they would like their complaint investigated (Local/ Formal) and an acceptable timeframe.
  • Investigate the complaint in a full and objective way and provide a detailed response within 20 working days. 
  • Write to the complainant on completion of the investigation, explaining how it has been resolved, what appropriate action has been taken and reminding them of their right to take the matter to the Care Quality Commission or HFEA as necessary.
  • Keep a record of all complaints, the results of investigations, the lessons learned and any actions implemented as a result.

Support for Complainants

There are a number of organisations that can support service users who wish to make a complaint:

Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS):

Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

Staff receiving complaints should be aware of and take steps to support people with special needs, (learning disability, hearing impairment or unfamiliar with the English language), to make a complaint.

Support for Staff

The receipt of a complaint can be an extremely stressful experience for any member of staff. The implication that in some way or shape the care that was provided has been perceived as being anything but of the highest quality can have a considerable impact on a person’s functioning.

Semovo is committed to ensuring that all staff are supported during the complaints process by:

  • Ensuring fairness, openness and impartiality during complaints investigations.
  • Ensuring that all staff have opportunity to comment on any responses made by the organisation
  • Accepting where something has gone wrong and apologise for it.
  • Equally, if the complaint is unfounded or incorrect fully support both our staff and the service or services questioned.

Second Stage

If the complainant is unhappy with the response they should be supported in taking their case to the Health Services Ombudsman (HFEA) or the Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service.

Service Improvements, Clinical Governance and Performance Monitoring

Learning from Complaints

Managers should use the issues raised in individual complaints to explore and, where appropriate, initiate service improvements.

Where appropriate an action plan should be drawn up, a copy of which should be sent to the Operations Director who will monitor the implementation of actions undertaken.

Monitoring and Reporting

The Operations Director will produce a report to Senior Management Team annually detailing the number of complaints and causes with an analysis of the issues raised, recommendations to address the issues, actions taken as a result of the recommendations and evidence that the actions have been implemented.  This report will be discussed at the Annual Quality Management Review Meeting as part of Semovo’s quality management system. 

In addition an annual report will

  • specify the numbers of complaints received;
  • identify the subject matter of those complaints;
  • Whether they upheld or not
  • Whether referred to HFEA
  • A narrative of significant issues through the year



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