Top tips on how to manage some of the most difficult complainants

Best practice in managing and reducing complaints in our healthcare services

A one-day conference

Royal Marine Hotel,
Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

Date: 16th May 2018

We are delighted to announce details of the forthcoming 5th Annual ‘Healthcare Complaints Management Conference 2018’ due to take place on 16th May in Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

There are various types of complainants ranging from reasonable to unreasonable, erratic or emotional to name just a few. This conference aims to give attendees new insights and key communication tools to help minimise the often disproportionate and unreasonable impacts complaints can have on healthcare services, their staff, time and resources by looking at strategies to implement for managing all types of complaints even those deemed unreasonable or erratic.

6 CEU Points Certified by the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)

Book your place now!

Judging from the audience participation over the last few years, this year’s conference will dedicate extra time for debate and discussion for those handling complaints to discuss their situations and get solutions from expert speakers on the day, plus explore other audience member’s experience.

This is a must attend event for any personnel directly or indirectly involved with handling complaints in both public and private organisations.

This event typically sells out quickly, so prompt booking is strongly advised to secure your place at the early bird rate Save €100.00 – Early Bird Rate is €345.00 + VAT (Normal rate €445.00 + VAT)

Please note the early bird discount can close sooner than expected once a certain amount of seats fill up, therefore your prompt booking is strongly advised to avoid disappointment

This conference will be of real interest to all healthcare service managers, complaints managers, those with responsibility for patient experience, nurses, directors of nursing, doctors, clinicians, surgeons, legal consultants and universities to name just a few.

Full Day Programme 8.50am to 4pm

Opening Remarks from Conference Chairperson:
Dr Elizabeth Fahey-McCarthy, Former Director of Teaching and Learning Postgraduate, TCD

Empathy & Language of Complaints
Speaker: Richard Walter, Co-ordinator of NHS Complaints Personnel Association Scotland and Lecturer with Well Handled Independent Complaints Services

  • How to recognise the signs of a potential difficult complaint.
  • Learn the importance of how to speak with complainants and how problems can be dealt with more effectively with the right choice of words and body language.
  • Consider which approaches may work in defusing difficult and possibly aggressive behaviour.
  • What to do if things suddenly go wrong to try and communications break down.

The Ideal Complaints System
Speaker: Jack Nagle, Alpha Healthcare

  • What do you need for the most efficient complaints database?
  • What information is key to a good system?
  • Who should have access to complaints data?
  • Monitoring effectiveness of your complaints system
  • Creating Quality Improvement initiatives from learning on complaints handling

Complaints Management in Acute Hospital Settings
Speaker: Margaret Lynch, Quality & Risk Manager, HSE South

  • Legislation, YSYS, Local Hospital Policy
  • Rights of review. Ombudsman
  • No wrong door for complaints- How do service users make complaints
  • How do we get feedback. National patient Experience (NPE) overview.
  • Practical examples of complaint handling. Lessons learned. What went wrong, what went well?
  • Complaints reviews. Examples of reviews and lessons learned

Using Patient Complaints & Concerns to improve the patient experience
Speaker: Margaret Marshall, Assistant Director of Clinical and Social Care Governance Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland

Key Principles Covered 

  • Are we hearing the patient voice effectively?
  • What is the value of patient concerns and complaints – how can these improve the patient experience?
  • Linking patient experience (complaints and concerns) to quality improvement in nursing
  • Cultural shift in recognition of the value of patient concerns

 Practical Examples

  • Classifying patient complaints and concerns 
  • Using the model to build a quality improvement programme 
  • Benchmarking our complaints performance    

Anatomy on complaints from a clinician’s perspective
Speaker: Nick Flynn, GP, General Practice & Minor Surgery Clinic, Hollyhill Medical Centre

  • Defending a complaint made to the regulator.
  • Defending a medicolegal complaint.
  • Regulation or Over Regulation?
  • Defensive Medicine.
  • The future?

Meeting the Needs of Vulnerable Complainants
Speaker: Caroline Kerby, Director of Strategic, Development, Harness Healthcare, NHS Alliance

  • What makes certain complainants more vulnerable than others?
  • How can you use complaints to transform and improve the experience of vulnerable patients?
  • what steps to take to ensure vulnerable patients feel comfortable to raise complaints and concerns?

Case Study – Real complaints case outcome from the complainant’s side

  • Putting the patient at the centre of the complaints process
  • Creating an environment and culture of an organisation that makes it OK for people to complain
  • Using complaints data – all organisations build up a lot of data from complaints over the years – how do they classify it, code it and then use it to do things differently for the future?
  • Some Doctors may be more prone to complaints than others
  • Identifying the Docs most likely to be complained about
  • Understanding what traits cause this and then using this to try and reduce complaints.
  • Review of case studies from around the world – what can we learn from elsewhere

Information Sharing in the investigation of complaints – Data Protection, Freedom of Information and privilege considerations
Speaker: Sharon Dillon-Lyons Barrister-at-Law

  • What should you be aware of when handling information given as part of a complaint
  • Data Protection, Freedom of Information and privilege considerations
  • Sharing outcomes and process progress – rights of stakeholders to certain information
  • Making complainants aware of duties to share information – policy and best practice
  • What particular issues about consent and confidentiality should you consider?
  • Avoiding common pitfalls

Supporting Staff and Employee Recovery
Speaker: Sarah Reid, Barrister-at-Law & Author

  • How can you best support staff who have been complained about?
  • How do you ensure employee recovery ensuring their resilience and ability to move forward in a positive manner?
  • What steps do you take to prevent recurrence, learn across the organisation and rebuild users confidence?
  • Reporting obligations – open disclosure
  • Obligations to protect staff in stressful settings and the risk of legal exposure if there are failings

Complaints and Litigation
Speaker: Mary Kirwan, Barrister and Lecturer RCSI 

  • Handling complaints in today’s litigious climate
  • Compliant trends & key complaint areas
  • How to say sorry without admitting liability
  • Potential impacts of open disclosure
  • Complaints, tip-offs and protected disclosures – knowing the differences

There will be 6 structured CPD points awarded to all attendees at this conference from the CPD certification service.  6 CEU Points Certified by the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)

Jack NagleDr. Jack Nagle

CEO, Alpha Healthcare

Jack is the founder and CEO of Alpha Healthcare, an Irish company dedicated to providing business and management support nationwide to healthcare professionals in Ireland and the UK.

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The company specialises in organisation and practice benchmarking and change management and has worked with more than 100 healthcare organisations. He set up Alpha Primary Care (APC) in the UK and has worked with healthcare organisations in Manchester, Newcastle and London. The company has done extensive work with UK practices to support compliance to the Care Quality Commission’s standards and in setting up Quality Management Systems.

Jack has been approved by the Institute of Leadership & Management to give training in the areas of practice management and healthcare and is an accredited Myers Briggs Type Indicator practitioner.

Jack has a keen interest in all healthcare related matters and a particular interest in Total Quality Management, Quality Management Systems and they can lead to quantum improvements in healthcare delivery systems.

He is a Board Member of the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Richard WalterRichard Walter

Complaints Specialist, NHS Complaints Personnel Association Scotland (NCPAS)

Richard Walter has over 30 years experience of complaints handling in the NHS both within NHS Lothian and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

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During 2005/2006, Richard was seconded to the Office of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) and in 2008 he was a member of the Scottish Government Fit-For-Purpose Complaints System Action Group as part of the Professor Crerar review of scrutiny and complaints handling. Richard has also been involved in various Scottish Government Complaints Review Groups and has assisted in developing staff training packages with NHS Education Scotland and delivering training for Queen Margaret University including for the Legal Complaints Commission.

Richard has been instrumental in co-ordinating and chairing the NHS Complaints Personnel Association Scotland (NCPAS), a forum which assists in the development of professional practice, policy, procedures, regulations and legislation in respect of the management and administrative handling of complaints within the NHS. The Association is formally recognised and supported by the Scottish Government and SPSO and by the regulatory bodies such as the General Medical Council and General Dental Council and is consulted on the revision of policies and procedures.

Richard has worked on joint initiatives with other public and private sector organisations and spoken at a large number of complaints conferences and has built up a large contact base with interested individuals and organisations throughout the UK and Ireland.

Sarah ReidSarah Reid

Barrister-at-Law, The Law Library

Sarah Reid LLB, LLM, BL is a practicing barrister specialising in personal injury and medical negligence.

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In recent years her area of specialisation has expanded to include the overlap between product liability laws, medical devices regulations and clinical negligence. In particular Sarah has focused her research on the defective PIP implants & DePuy recall of the ASR hip replacement system. Sarah is an associate legal expert with the Institute of Public Administration where she delivers specialised training in medical law, judicial review and courtroom skills to the public sector. She also lecturers Product liability law in Trinity College Dublin and is a guest lecturer in clinical negligence for the HSE & the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. In 2015 Sarah was appointed as legal counsel to the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry.

Caroline KerbyCaroline Kerby

Director of Strategic Development, Harness Care and National Executive Committee, NHS Alliance

Caroline has worked in primary care since 1986 and is a passionate advocate of the importance of high quality primary care management.

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She is the managing partner in a general practice in Brent and has an interest in public health issues. Her other interests are in leadership and workforce development. She is the Director of Strategic Development and Interim Network Chair for Harness a GP provider offering extended primary care through a network of 21 general practices and services to over 115000 patients. Harness have been an innovative leader in primary care transformation since 2006 and strongly believe in the values of traditional general practice but delivered in new models and partnerships focussed on communities and their needs. She is a clinical commissioning lead for Brent CCG and leads for her locality on finance and performance. Caroline is a member of the NHS Alliance national executive and one of the leads of the general practice network. She represents the NHS Alliance on the national Practice Manager Network steering group.

Dr Nick FlynnDr Nick Flynn

Minor Surgery Clinic, Hollyhill Medical Centre

Dr Nick Flynn is a GP partner in Hollyhill Medical Centre and is Medical Director of Union Quay Medical Centre and Global Travel Vaccinations.

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He has been practicing as a GP in Cork for over 15 years. Dr Flynn is a trainer with the Cork Post Graduate Training Scheme, a tutor for undergraduate medical students in UCC and is actively involved with the ICGP. He has worked as a GP in Cork prison, in Tabor lodge drug treatment centre and provides GP services to prisoners for An Garda Síochana. His areas of clinical interest are preventative medicine, office based surgery, travel medicine and substance abuse.

Margaret LynchMargaret Lynch

Quality & Risk Manager, HSE South

Margaret is from a nursing background with over 20 years experience in the acute hospital setting, private healthcare setting and community setting.

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She is educated to Masters Level. Her nursing experience ranges from experience in acute ward settings, ICU, ED and Radiology nursing. She moved from CNM 2 roles in Radiology and ICU to an Assistant Director of Nursing role.

She is currently working as a Quality and Risk manager for an acute hospital in the SSWHG. This role involves: Management of Incidents, Complaints, Health and Safety, Freedom of Information, Quality, Insurance and Claims management.

She conducts train the trainer courses for Open Disclosure; she is trained in Systems Analysis reviews and also in Complaints reviews. She has also got vast experience in management of complaints throughout her carer as a staff nurse, CNM 2, ADON and in her current role.

Margaret MarshallMargaret Marshall

Assistant Director of Clinical and Social Care Governance Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland

Margaret is a qualified Registered Nurse with over 30 years health and social care experience having held senior healthcare positions in both primary and secondary care as well as nursing and midwifery practice education.

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For the past 6 years she has held senior posts in clinical and social care governance, her work has contributed in shaping Northern Ireland regional Health and Social Care programmes including serious adverse incident management, processes for managing complaints, clinical risk management and implementation of assurance frameworks.   Margaret has a particular interest in using quality indicators to affect change including developing methods for incorporating the wider patient experience into shaping services.  She has extensive experience in using clinical and social care governance information to inform quality improvement to enhance services for patients and their families.

Mary KirwanMary Kirwan

Barrister and Lecturer RCSI

Mary is a barrister and lecturer at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

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She teaches medical law on the undergraduate and postgraduate Ethics programme in the RCSI.

She is a dissertation director for the MSc Healthcare Ethics and Law course and provides training seminars in hospitals on medico/legal issues.
Mary Kirwan is a graduate of the National University of Ireland Galway and the Honorable Society of Kings Inns.

Mary is also a winner of the Law Society of Ireland Justice Media Award for her writing on current legal topics. She has written extensively in the area of law, including a weekly legal column in the Irish Independent, and is a frequent legal contributor in national and local broadcast media, including RTE’s Prime Time.

Mary is currently a member of a number of committees including a Research Ethics Committee, an Ethics Committee and an Advisory Panel.
Mary provides expert legal advice to various organisations on a voluntary basis and previously worked with the Legal Aid Board.

Dr Elizabeth Fahey-McCarthy

Dr Elizabeth Fahey-McCarthy

Former Director of Teaching  and Learning Postgraduate, TCD

Dr Elizabeth Fahey-McCarthy, Former  Director of Teaching and Learning Postgraduate, worked in the School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin from 2000-2017.

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Prior to this she was a nurse tutor in Centres for Nurse Education in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and in the USA. She is a Registered General Nurse and Registered Nurse Tutor, completing her MA Ed at Oxford Brookes University in 1999, and her PhD at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin in 2012. Her educational experience and research interests include dementia care, palliative care and end-of-life care, ethical decision-making and reflective practice.

Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

SAVE €100.00 BY BOOKING THE EARLY BIRD RATE OF €345 + VAT per Person – (Closing Friday 4th May) Normal Rate @ €445 + VAT.

Please note the early bird discount can close sooner than expected once a certain amount of seats fill up, therefore your prompt booking is strongly advised to avoid disappointment

CMG Events Conference Discount

  • 10% discount for the third delegate booked or subsequent bookings thereafter from the same company.

The rate to attend includes morning tea/coffee and refreshments on arrival at registration, mid-morning tea/coffee and pastries and buffet lunch. You will receive the speakers PowerPoint presentations within 24 hours after the event. 

Tel: 01 293 4764


   Telephone:+353 1 2933650

Early Bird Booking rate: €345.00 + VAT Normal Rate: €445 + VAT

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Terms and Conditions:
Payment for attendance is due within seven days from the date of invoice. This booking is transferable and a substitute attendee may attend on your behalf at no additional cost if you cannot attend. Cancellation of a booking must be received by CMG Events in writing by email or by post, no later than 14 days prior to the event date. Regrettably no cancelations or refunds can be made after this date. In the case of a refund – an administration charge of 25% plus VAT will be deducted before a refund is made. CMG Events reserve the right to make any necessary changes to the advertised programme including a change of venue. The views expressed by the speakers are not necessarily those held by the organisers, nor is the organiser responsible for speakers opinions or statements. Please note CMG Events will distribute the delegate list to all registered attendees prior to the conference for networking purposes. However, in keeping with current data protection and privacy legislation, the distributed delegate list will not contain telephone or email contact details. Please advise CMG Events if you would like to have your name removed from this networking list for this event. We do not sell your data to a third party - we may use your contact details for the purposes of notifying you of other conferences or training courses that we run. If you do not wish for us to contact you again, please let us know by emailing

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