Responsive, patient-centred care requires all healthcare professionals to be prepared to listen, learn and respond to complaints whenever they arise.

Handling verbal complaints effectively – in everyday service and during Local Resolution Meetings (LRM) – is crucial in avoiding escalation, enhancing patient trust and improving service delivery.

This Effectively Handling Verbal Complaints course will focus on developing delegates’ communications and mediation skills in order to ensure complaint handlers effectively resolve and manage complaints.

Led by experienced Clinical Investigations and Complaints Handling Consultant, Cathe Gaskell, this course will cover best practices for LRM preparation and give delegates the confidence to facilitate these difficult and emotional conversations.

09:15 - 09:45


09:45 - 10:00

Trainer's Welcome and Clarification of Learning Objectives

10:00 - 10:45

Principles of Verbal Complaints and LRMs

  • Learn why LRM are an integral to the PHSO and CQC’s vision for patient-centred complaints process
  • Explore the background of complaints resolution in 2017
  • Understand what historic complaints handling and subsequent Inquiries have taught us
  • Consider the effects of a protracted complaints processes have on both NHS staff and patients and their families
  • Understand the risks and benefits of face-to-face communication for all parties
10:45 - 11:30

Avoiding escalation: Improving Listening Skills

  • Learn what patients want from complaints handlers
  • Understand the drivers of complaint escalation
  • Consider the impact of your language, tone and body-language
  • Develop active listening skills and reduce the risk of miscommunication
11:30 - 11:45

Morning Break

11:45 - 12:45

Overcome Procedural and Cultural Barriers to Successful LRM

  • Create shared view of aims prior to LRM amongst all participants
  • Equip yourself with best practice for preparing an agenda
  • Empower clinical staff and service leaders to chair a positive and successful meeting
  • Consider common barriers to resolution – create the right atmosphere, location and time and room set up
  • Ensure complainants leave with clarity of the next steps, based on best practice guidelines
12:45 - 13:45


13.45 - 15:00

Complaint and Conflict Resolving Communication Techniques

This workshop will focus on developing the techniques for respectful, empathetic communication with complainants and service users.

  • Explore advanced communication skills to aid verbal complaints resolution
  • Overcome communication barriers such as defensiveness and clinical language
  • Understand the importance of intent vs. impact in your conversations
  • Learn from past complaints and apply effective verbal solutions at first point of contact
  • Reflect on the changes to practice needed to deliver respectful, empathic communication with complainants and service users
15:00 - 15:15

Afternoon Break

In this final session, delegates will apply learning from the day to real life case studies. With individual guidance and feedback delegates will be able to practise in a safe space:

  • Internal complaint investigations and preparation for LRM
  • Designing an appropriate agenda for each complaint scenario
  • Leading difficult conversations towards shared positive outcomes and resolution
  • Considering necessary follow up information and best practice for recording outcomes
15:15 - 16:00

Managing Complaint Conversations and Delivering Effective Apologies

In this final session, delegates will apply learning from the day to real life case studies. With individual guidance and feedback delegates will be able to practise in a safe space:

  • Learn about using effective conversations to build rapport with complainants
  • Explore delivering effective apologies and how they can help move towards a resolution
  • Consider the difference between a written and a verbal apology
  • Putting the non-verbal, verbal and advanced communication skills together – best practice examples in complaints handling.
16:00 - 16:15

Feedback, Evaluation and Close

Catherine Gaskell

Managing Director, The Results Company

Managing Director Catherine Gaskell has worked within healthcare for nearly 30 years. After initially training as a nurse within mental health, she completed a BSC in Professional Issues within Healthcare.

Central London

Q: Can I make a provisional booking?

A: Unfortunately, we do not accept provisional bookings. Registrations are subject to our terms and conditions. View terms and conditions here

Q: Can I book without a purchase order number?

A: Yes. Simply email [email protected] after you have booked the course, with your Purchase Order Number. Please quote your order number and the course you are booked onto.

Q: Is lunch included?

A: Yes, a two-course hot buffet is served at lunch. Tea and coffee are served throughout the day.

Q: I have special dietary requirements, how can I request this?

A: Special dietary requirements can be catered for, please ensure you include this in the further information box when registering your place. If you have forgotten to add this, you can also send your requirements to [email protected] or call 0800 542 9440. Please let us know as soon as possible so we can ensure your needs are met.

Q: I have just registered for the course, when will I receive the joining instructions?

A: You will receive the joining instructions and reminders, 2 weeks, 1 week and 3 days before the course date. Please check your spam box to see whether the joining instructions were sent there, if not please call 0800 542 9440 so we can have these sent to you immediately.

Q: I can no longer attend the course, can a colleague attend in my place?

A: Substitutions may be made at any time but must be made no later than 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 0800 542 9440 or email [email protected] with the replacement's details.

Q: What is your cancellation policy?

A: Cancellations must be received in writing 30 working days before the date of the event and will be subject to a £195+VAT administration fee. Cancellations received after this time will be subject to the full delegate fee.

Q: Why haven’t I received the speaker’s presentation?

A: Speakers presentations are sent a week after the event date. Please contact a member of the UMG team on 0800 542 9440 or [email protected] if it has been more than a week.

Q: Will there be WI-FI?

A: Yes, all our venues have the latest technology, offer full audio visual support and WI-FI.

Q: Can’t find what you are looking for?

A: Why not contact a member of the UMG team on 0800 542 9440 or email [email protected]