Guide to completing the collection using the Omnibus system

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KO41(b) – General Practice (including Dentist) Written Complaints

A guide to completing the collection using the Omnibus system

The NHS Information Centre

is England’s central, authoritative source
of health and social care information.

Acting as a ‘hub’ for high quality, national, comparative data, we deliver information for local decision makers, to improve the quality and efficiency of care.

Author: The Health and Social Care Information Centre, Data Collections Team

Version: 4.1

Date of Publication: March 2013


Background 4

Definition of Complaint Upheld 4

General guidance 5

Completing the form 6

Validating data 7

Contacts 8


The information obtained from the K041(b) collection monitors written General Practice (including Dental) complaints (by service area and type) received by the NHS each year. It also supports the commitment given in Equity and Excellence to improve the Patient Experience by listening to the public voice.

This information is published annually in a statistical bulletin. The latest bulletin can be found at the following web address:

Data on written complaints in the NHS - 2011-12

Definition of Complaint Upheld

If any or all of a complaint is well founded then it should be recorded as "upheld locally."

Note: The Ombudsman adopts this principle in their adjudications.

General guidance

  1. The KO41(b) should be completed with information about written complaints about general practice (including dental) health services (formerly family health services) made by, or on behalf of, patients in the period 1st April to 31st March.

  1. For the purposes of this return a written complaint is one that is made in writing to any member of Trust or PCT staff, or is originally made orally and subsequently recorded in writing. Once it is so recorded, it should be treated as though it was made in writing from the outset. Oral complaints and comments/suggestions that do not require investigation should not be included.

  1. If a written communication contains more than one complaint that requires separate investigation then each should be recorded separately. However, where a single complaint covers several aspects of care/treatment received, the complaint should be recorded only once, under the principle cause of complaint.

  1. Complaints forwarded to the Ombudsman are to be excluded because a complaint could span several reporting years and could corrupt data returns.

  1. If the complaint is transferred to another organisation, the organisation that deals with it should record it.

  1. If the organisation investigates a complaint made about another organisation, the complaint should be recorded against the organisation being complained about and not the organisation conducting the investigation.

  1. DO NOT INCLUDE investigations instigated by outside agencies, for example the Police, Health Service Commissioner or Coroners Court.

  1. Local resolution (LR) is the first stage of the complaints procedure when front-line staff should aim to provide the fullest possible opportunity for investigation and resolution of the complaint, as quickly as is sensible in the circumstances.

  1. Complaints regarding GP Out of Hours services

    1. Complaints received regarding GP practices who provide Out of Hours services under the new General Medical Services (GMS) contract should be recorded on the KO41(b) return.

    2. Where PCTs directly employ doctors (or others) to provide OOHs then these complaints should be recorded on the KO41(a) return under the service area ‘Other community health services’

    3. Where a PCT commissions the OOH service from an independent provider, e.g. Primecare, then complaints made to the PCT should be submitted on the KO41(b) (General Practice health services) return.

  1. Data on the ethnic group of both complainant (this should always be about the patient and not the person complaining on the patient’s behalf) and staff complained about (where a complaint is about an individual as opposed to a service or administrative arrangements etc) have been collected since April 2001. This information will help the department of Health to begin developing a picture of the extent to which ethnicity affects the likelihood of complaining or being complained about. In most cases, the information will be readily available from medical or personal records, but where it is not every effort should be made to obtain it from either the complainant or the staff member involved. The ethnic groups listed in Parts 2 & 3 of this return are consistent with those set out in Data Set Change Notice 21/2000 “CDS, HES & Workforce: Ethnic Data”.

    This collection will be made via a web based collection tool called OMNIBUS and can be accessed through the following web address:

    The form contains validations and it is important that the sums of the different parts correspond.

    Further information on the current NHS complaints procedures can be obtained from the Department of Health Website:

Completing the form

The collection form is accessed using the link and login details provided in the data request email. Data can be entered directly onto the collection form, or the blank form can be downloaded and then once completed can be uploaded onto the Omnibus system. Guidance on using the upload/download feature can be found by clicking on the following link:

Omnibus Guidance – Download/Upload Feature

The form consists of 5 parts:

Part 1

Record the total number of written complaints received and upheld during the year against all the GMPs and GDPs with which the PCT has service contracts. For GMPs, this will be included in their annual reports. GDPs will be required as part of their terms of service to submit these figures to the PCT.

Returns on the total number of written complaints against pharmacists and opticians are not required.

The sum of the figures on line 01 to 03 plus line 06 must equal the “Total” line (line 99).

Please note that the “Total number of written complaints received” and the “Total number of written complaints upheld” in line 99 must equal the “Total number of written complaints received” and the “Total number of written complaints upheld” entered in line 99 in Part 3.

Part 2

GPs do not have to provide information on the subject of complaint to the PCT. It would be advantageous if you were able to obtain this information where possible. Record the number of written complaints received and upheld in part 1 by subject of complaint (please refer to the table below for definitions of each subject of complaint.)

The sum of the figures must equal the “Total” line (line 99)

Please note that the “Total number of written complaints received” and the “Total number of written complaints upheld” in line 99 must equal the “Total number of written complaints received” and the “Total number of written complaints upheld” entered in line 99 in Part 4.

Subject of complaint



A contact made either face to face or by telephone, facsimile, email or website and issues relating to verbal/non-verbal characteristics, or content


The physical environment and psychological effect of the site occupied by the practice/service

Practice/surgery management

Decisions made by the practice manager about the operation of the practice /service (e.g. access to individual practitioners, appointments, opening hours, locum cover)

General practice administration

Activities undertaken by the reception and administrative staff within the practice


Clinical decisions, advice and treatment provided by a care professional within the practice


Any other issues not covered by the above.

Part 3

The comment section is there for you to provide further clarification or remarks that you may wish to make in reference to specific parts of the data supplied, or more general comments which you may have.

Validating data

The return contains built in validations which are activated when the “Validate” button is clicked in Omnibus Survey. This will bring up a list of validation queries, e.g. if a total does not add up to the individual rows. Please correct all errors and repeat the above process until there are no more validation errors remaining.


For queries regarding the validation and submission of the return, please contact:


For queries on definitions and General Practice (including Dental) complaints, please contact:

Geoff Delissen 0113 2545857

Or email:

Thank you for completing this collection

Published by The NHS Information Centre for health and social care

Part of the Government Statistical Service

This publication may be requested in large print or other formats.

For further information:

0845 300 6016

Copyright © 2013 The Health and Social Care Information Centre, Data Collections Team. All rights reserved.

This work remains the sole and exclusive property of the Health and Social Care Information Centre and may only be reproduced where there is explicit reference to the ownership of the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

This work may be re-used by NHS and government organisations without permission.

This work is subject to the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations and permission for commercial use must be obtained from the copyright holder.

Copyright © 2013, The Health and Social Care Information Centre. All Rights Reserved.

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