Most NHS care and treatment goes well but sometimes things can go wrong. If you are unhappy with your care or the service you have received, it is important to let us know so we can improve.
Feedback helps us improve the quality of your care.
You can give good or bad feedback by telling the NHS organisation or service about it. For example, you can do this through the Friends and Family Test or you can speak to a member of staff. Other ways to give feedback should be clearly displayed at the service you visit.
If you are unhappy with an NHS service, it is worthwhile discussing your concerns early on with the service, as they may be able to sort the issue out quickly. Most problems can be dealt with at this stage but, in some cases, you may feel more comfortable speaking to someone not directly involved in your care.
Making your complaint
You can complain in writing, by email or by speaking to someone. You should make your complaint within 12 months of the incident or within 12 months of the matter coming to your attention. This time limit can sometimes be extended as long as it is still possible to investigate your complaint.
Anyone can complain, including young people. A family member, carer, friend or your local MP can complain on your behalf with your permission.
What can I expect if I complain?
- have your complaint acknowledged and properly looked into
- be kept informed of progress and told the outcome
- be treated fairly, politely and with respect
- be reassured that your care and treatment will not be affected as a result of making a complaint
- be offered the opportunity to discuss the complaint with a complaints manager
- expect appropriate action to be taken following your complaint
Can I get help to make my complaint?
If you feel you would like help to make your complaint support is available. Some people may decide not to make a complaint because they are put off by the process, find it confusing or believe nothing will happen. If you are thinking about making a complaint it is important to know that you have access to local advocacy to help you make your complaint and provide support throughout the complaints process.
A NHS Complaints Advocate is independent of the NHS and may help you write a letter, attend a meeting with you or explain the options available to you. This service is free to anyone making a complaint about their NHS treatment or care. Contact your local council or local Healthwatch to find out about independent NHS complaints advocacy services in your area.
The NHS Constitution
The NHS Constitution sets out your rights as a patient, and explains the commitments the NHS has made to providing you with a high quality service. Organisations providing NHS care must take account of the NHS Constitution when treating you, so you may find it helpful to refer to it if you are thinking about making a complaint.
Unhappy with the outcome of your complaint?
If you are not happy with the way your complaint has been dealt with and would like to take the matter further, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) which makes final decisions on unresolved complaints about the NHS in England. It is an independent service which is free for everyone to use.
To take your complaint to the Ombudsman, visit the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website or call 0345 015 4033.
Public Health Services Complaints
For public health services complaints, contact the Local Government Ombudsman.
We always welcome feedback or suggestions (positive or negative) about the services we provide. We always try to give you the best possible service, however, if you do have a cause for concern, please let us know. Further details of our in-house complaints procedure are available from reception. Should a patient make a complaint, the practice may need to provide information about the patient, and treatment they have received, to insurers or legal advisers.