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10 bizarre patient complaints that made practice managers’ day

26 July 2018

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Every GP practice must have a complaints procedure in place to allow patients to vent their worries about the quality of care they receive and the state of practice facilities.
Most of the time, it falls to practice managers to go through those complaints and address the issues the complainants’ raise.
However, there are bizarre comments and complaints that can make it a challenge for practice managers to suppress a laugh and respond in a business-like manner.
Richard Miller, practice manager at the Great Bentley Surgery in Colchester, who shared some of his most bizarre complaints with Management in Practice, says: ‘We have to treat [these comments] professionally, like any other complaint, and keep a straight face. I’m not that frustrated by pointless or silly complaints, as they make for good anecdotes to tell my colleagues, so that’s a positive’
Here is Management in Practice’s pick of 10 of the most entertaining comments received by practice managers.

  • ‘I had someone complain about the cobwebs on the outside lights last year so I dutifully got the feather duster out and removed them and bugger me if they weren`t back the next day! At least I tried!’
  • ‘We had a complaint from a patient about a doctor NOT running late. He notoriously ran at least 60 minutes late and she had planned on finishing her book while she waited. She couldn’t do that as he was actually on time for once.’
  • ‘I had a complaint about working in the north of England with a southern accent. Priceless!’
  • ‘We had a patient complain because a repeat prescription he had posted on Saturday afternoon was not ready for collection 8am on Monday morning. He was at the door waiting when we opened and his prescription was still in the post box! He thought it was disgusting the GPs and staff didn’t work at the weekend.’
  • ‘A patient complained that an out of hours GP refused to deliver a condom. His argument was that the cost to the NHS would be far greater if his girlfriend got pregnant as a result of not being supplied with a condom.’
  • ‘We had a complaint that we’d incorrectly marked a prescription for home delivery when it should have been normal collection. The prescription was delivered for free, but the driver interrupted their dinner and they were pee’d off.’
  • ‘We had one patient complain that she didn’t have cancer after [she received a ‘two-week wait’ referral for cancer]. She asked what the point was in having time off work [to attend the appointment] when it wasn’t even cancer.’ 
  • ‘One patient complained that we didn’t leave the car park lights on all night so he could walk his dog!’
  • ‘We had one patient who complained because there was a puddle outside the surgery after it had rained.’
  • ‘We use complaint forms in the surgery. A patient complained that the form wasn’t big enough! Nothing else on there, apart from that.’

Which complaint made you laugh the most? Help us select a winner! We picked our top three; choose your favourite complaint by taking part in our poll on Facebook.
Practice manager Richard Miller – who jointly runs the General Practice Managers UK Facebook group with practice managers Sarah Longland and Eilish Davoren – kindly provided the comments and complaints above to Management in Practice.