Raising my complaint in an informal discussion
If you’re not happy with the care you’ve had, you should first talk to the person concerned, or the person in charge. This might be the practice manager at a GP surgery, or the person in charge of a ward in a hospital. It’s a good idea to make a note of any conversations you had, when you had them and what was discussed.
In most hospitals, you can find out who to speak to from the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
Making a complaint under the NHS Complaints Procedure
If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of the informal discussion, you can make a complaint under the NHS Complaints Procedure.
You can either make a complaint to the service provider (such as the GP surgery or the hospital) or the organisation that commissions the service (such as NHS England for GPs or the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) for hospitals). You can’t complain to both.
How should I make the complaint?
You can make your complaint in person, by phone or in writing (by letter or email).
If you’re complaining to the organisation that provides the service then you should address your complaint to the Chief Executive or the complaints manager.
When you make your complaint you should explain that you’re starting the complaints procedure. You should include all of the relevant details and the names of anyone involved.
What can I expect once I’ve made a complaint?
The organisation you complain to should keep a written record of your complaint, even if you make it verbally. They must acknowledge your complaint no later than three working days after it’s received. After this, you should be told how the complaint will be handled and how long it’s likely to take. This will often involve a discussion with you.
Your complaint should be dealt with in a reasonable time. This will depend on who needs to be involved and what information is needed. If you haven’t received a response within six months, the organisation must write to you and explain the reasons for the delay.
What should I do if I’m not satisfied with how my complaint has been handled?
If you’re not satisfied after making a complaint under the NHS Complaints Procedure, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to investigate.
If you’d like support to make a complaint, you can contact your local Healthwatch.
Complaining on behalf of a family member or friend
If you feel that your loved one isn’t getting the standard of care they need, you’re entitled to make a complaint on their behalf.