The health sector is experiencing a surge in written complaints. Our Developing Effective Written Responses to Complaints in Healthcare course has been designed to support you in dealing with these complaints quickly and efficiently.

Led by communications specialist Sue Calthorpe, this course gives you advanced complaint handling letter writing skills.

Through a combination of expert tutor input, group discussions and practical supported exercises, learn valuable skills and techniques to resolve complaints in an efficient and compassionate manner.

By writing more effective responses to complaints, your organisation can improve its reputation; rebuild trust with patients, carers, and their families, and avoid escalation of complaints to the Ombudsman.

Through practical exercises and the use of break-out rooms, efficiently embed what you have learned, and leave the day with the techniques and the confidence to write more effective responses to complaints, as well as a comprehensive booklet which will provide reference for your return to work.

Unlocking the Power of Virtual

Our virtual courses have been designed with you in mind. From group exercises in breakout rooms to live chat, whiteboards and interactive polls, we use a range of tools and techniques to ensure that you can connect with your trainer; network and share best practice with your peers and leave the day with the skills you need.

Our courses provide you with an interactive and engaging learning environment that can be accessed from any location, helping you to continue to connect, learn and grow. Click here to discover more!

Please note this course will be delivered via Zoom.

trainer photo
Sue Calthorpe
Media & Communications Specialist

Susan works with organisations and individuals to improve their written communications skills.

She worked as a regional and national newspaper journalist before setting up a full-service communications company, now established for 30 years.

She works with public and private sector organisations to help with:

  • Effective emails
  • Report writing
  • Briefings and submissions
  • Persuasive and influential writing techniques
  • Promotional writing
  • Effective complaint handling
  • Communicating complex information for non-technical readers.

Her recent clients include Legal & General, HSBC, BRIT, the Law ...

Read more

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand what is working and what needs improvement in healthcare complaints letter writing
  • Learn from best practice how to respond to a complaint
  • Effectively assess and plan your reply
  • Identify the ‘trigger point’ to ensure you answer the question
  • Create credible correspondence moving forward
All the Understanding ModernGov courses are Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certified, with signed certificates available upon request for event.

Enquire About In-House Training

To speak to someone about a bespoke training programme, please contact us:
0800 542 9414
[email protected]


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9:25 - 9:30


09:30 - 10:00

Virtual Icebreaker and Clarification of Learning Objectives

10:00 - 10:45

Patient Complaints: What’s Working and What Needs to Improve

  • What are the trends in healthcare complaints?
  • How do other organisations handle complaints: which systems work well?
  • What experience do you need to handle complaints well?
  • Understand the effect complaints have on both staff, patients, and their families
10:45 - 11:30

Best and Bad Practice

  • Assess a range of real-life correspondence
  • Identify best practice use of style, tone, vocabulary, presentation of facts, evidence and expert comment
11:30 - 11:45

Morning Break

11:45 - 13:00

Assessing and Planning Your Reply

  • Understand how writers want their complaint handled and what they expect from the reply
  • Develop planning tools to create a suitable reply
  • Responding to complaints on social media
    • Know when and where it is appropriate to respond
    • Understand data protection and consent issues
    • Using the appropriate style and tone of voice
  • Identify ‘trigger’ points from correspondence to provide better responses
13:00 - 13:45


13:45 - 14:00

Reflection Session

  • The trainer will review the day’s learning and the next stages of the course
  • Delegates will have time to ask questions and share views with one another
14:00 - 14:45

Practical Exercise in Complaint Handling

Create a response using the four boxes grid to embed the learning from the morning session.

  • Practise planning a response
  • Use objective criteria to deliver excellent peer feedback to help colleagues with constructive critique
14:45 - 16:00

Using the Planning Grid in Real Life

In this practical session, delegates will examine three real-life complaints and their responses to embed today’s lessons learnt.

16:00 - 16:15

Round Up and Key Takeaways


Central Government & Agencies - Virtual

Delegate Price
£345 + VAT

Local Government, Housing, Education & Health - Virtual

Delegate Price
£345 + VAT

Charity - Virtual

Delegate Price
£345 + VAT

Private Sector - Virtual

Delegate Price
£445 + VAT


“This is honestly the best one-day course I have ever attended – Susan’s knowledge and know how are astounding.”
Developing Effective Written Responses to Complaints in HealthcareHead of Nursing, BCUHB
“A really good course which provided a number of light bulb moments regarding my own practice and practice I approve.”
Developing Effective Written Responses to Complaints in HealthcareMatron, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust