Rhianna, Complaints Manager


Why did you want to move into the role you’re currently in?

I was part of the complaints team for several years prior to the role of Complaints Manager becoming available, I felt it was the perfect opportunity for me to step into a managerial role. I was able to use the skills and knowledge I had gained during my time in complaints management to help fulfil my vision of assisting to lead a sustainable and meaningful service ensuring we, as a Trust, provide the highest level of care, compassion and communication to our service users, while promoting a positive listening culture. 

Why the NHS and North West Anglia?

I have always dreamt of being in a role that can provide care and support to others. I wanted to be part of an organisation that I have such admiration for and one which provides vital support and care for so many.

Team North West Anglia has a supportive network of colleagues that bring value to my role. With the job I do, coupled with the passionate people I have met along the way, a career in the NHS is certainly one of longevity.

Tell us about your role?    

My role is to manage the complaints service across the Trust, along with providing direct line management to our complaints team members. It is paramount that our Trust openly and robustly investigates formal complaints we receive from service users, while ensuring a meaningful outcome and response is provided. This ensures appropriate lessons have been learnt, and action taken to help us improve the care we provide to our patients. My role is an integral part of ensuring staff are fully informed and trained in good complaints handling and helping to demonstrate the way in which the organisation learns and utilises this feedback.

No two days are the same in the complaints team. It comes with its own challenges and pressures of prioritising workload, supporting a team, and providing effective leadership to maintain the service.

What do you love most about your role?

I love making a difference. I love that the complaints team is a gateway to assisting service users in seeking feedback, clarity, reassurance, and closure at what can be one of the most difficult times in their lives. The Trust is transparent and is not afraid to admit when we haven’t always got things right the first time around. It is important to me that we use feedback to improve our service, helping to make our patients experience the best it can be. When we receive a positive outcome to a complaint, or an accolade for the way in which a case was dealt with, it gives me such pride that the team has helped to make a small difference to that person and their family.

What are the benefits of working for North West Anglia?

I feel very secure in my job, I work in a supportive and positive organisation that looks after its employees, a great pension is certainly a good incentive!

The Trust also have a strong vision for developing their own staff to reach their full potential and climb the career ladder,which is something I, too, strongly believe in. I have always found that support and time has been well invested to individuals displaying the ambition and promise to improve the care we provide patients.

What do you enjoy about working for the Trust?

Meeting new people and building strong working relationships. Staff are respectful of one another in my experience and the presence of the senior leadership team is always reassuring. Our CEO Caroline, always makes the effort to catch up with the team on a weekly basis which makes us all feel valued and integrated as part of our wider Trust.  

How has your role developed during your time at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, tell us about your journey at NWAngliaFT/in the NHS?

Having a retail background, customer service has always been important to me and a strong aptitude of mine. This led me in to my first role in the NHS as the Learning Centre Administrative Assistant five years ago as a band 2. During this role I supported the running of the learning centre which helped me to build on my administration experience.

I applied for the role of a complaints assistant. Band 3, when the position became available. Providing direct lines of communication to complainants and service users to raise their concerns formally. An opportunity arose 18 months later in the clinical risk management team as a band 4 administrator to support with the Serious Incident process at the Trust. This role broadened my knowledge of patient care, serious incident management and furthered my administrative skills.

The role of the Complaints Officer, band 5, finally became available and enabled me to fulfil my ambition of becoming a line manager. Following a restructure and review of the complaints team the role of Complaints Officer (now Complaints Manager) was developed, incorporating further responsibilities such as developing and training staff in the complaints process Trust wide. I also had the privileged opportunity of completing an in house Effective Manager programme with our OD team that really helped to build my confidence and leadership skills.

I feel that my journey is a prime example that with hard work, dedication and commitment, you can really reap the benefits of such a fantastic organisation

How has Covid-19 impacted on your role?

Understandable pressures during COVID-19 impacted myself and our team in different ways. I had to learn to adapt quicker, remain calm when I wasn’t always feeling that way.

Remaining positive in a negative situation was always important to me to boost staff morale. I will always be humble for the support the team and Trust provided me at a challenging time. It was empowering to see such unity and strength from my NHS colleagues and that patient care was always a top priority.