Available Dates


We know dealing with complaints is no easy task. That’s why our Developing Effective Written Responses to Complaints in Healthcare course gives you advanced complaint handling writing skills, so you can deal with complaints efficiently and quickly.

Through a combination of group discussions, practical exercises and individual feedback from Communications Specialist, Sue Calthorpe, learn valuable skills and techniques to resolve complaints in a supportive environment.

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 CQC.

Through practical exercises, leave the day with the techniques and confidence to write more effective responses to complaints.

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 ...

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Learning Outcomes

  • Effectively assess and plan your reply
  • Create credible correspondence moving forward
  • Learn from best practice how to respond to a complaint
  • Identify the ‘trigger point’ to ensure you answer the question
  • Understand what is working and what needs improvement in healthcare complaints letter writing
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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09:00 - 09:30


09:30 - 10:00

Trainer's Welcome 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?
  • What experience do you need to handle complaints well?
  • How do other organisations handle complaints: which systems work well?
  • Understand the effect complaints have on 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

  • Responding to complaints on social media
    • Using appropriate style and tone of voice
    • Understand data protection and consent issues
    • Know when and where it is appropriate to respond
  • Develop planning tools to create a suitable reply
  • Identify ‘trigger’ points from correspondence to provide better responses
  • Understand how writers want their complaint handled and what they expect from the reply
13:00 - 14:00


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 examine three real-life complaints and their responses to embed today’s lessons learnt.

16:00 - 16:15

Feedback, Evaluation and Close