Making a complaint

If you are unhappy with the way you have been treated by the NHS, you have the right to make a complaint, have it considered, and receive a response from the organisation concerned.

We welcome your concerns and complaints to ensure we can make sure local health services are providing the best possible service, and where they are not, making sure improvements are made.

Who can complain?

You can make a complaint if you have been, or are likely to be, affected by the actions of any part of the NHS.

You can also complain on behalf of someone else if you can show you have their consent or legal authority such as power of attorney.

What is the time limit for making a complaint?

Your complaint should be raised within 12 months of the date of an incident or of when you become aware of the issue. This timescale can be extended in exceptional cases.

Listening to you to help us learn and improve

We view all feedback, both positive and negative, as an opportunity to learn and improve local health services.

Where there has been a mistake or where systems need to be changed or improved, we will acknowledge this and let you know what action will be taken.

The NHS complaints procedure

The NHS complaints procedure has two stages.

The first stage is called 'local resolution' and we aim to resolve most concerns at this stage.

As part of this process our complaints team will advise you how your complaint will be managed and who will respond to you. The investigation will then be carried out by the CCG or the trust that is responsible for that service.

After your complaint has been investigated by us or one of our NHS partners locally, and if you are still unhappy, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review your complaint.

How to make a complaint

Please be aware if you want to make a complaint about your GP, dentist, or optician, then you should contact NHS England by calling 0300 311 2233 or emailing england.contactus@nhs.net and they will be able to investigate for you.

Our complaints team can handle complaints about the funding of, and access to, the majority of NHS services (but not GPs, dentists or opticians), or about decisions made by the clinical commissioning group.

Exceptionally we will also handle or manage complaints about other local NHS services such as hospitals and community services.

If you have not spoken to the team or organisation that is directly caring for you, we may have to contact them (with your consent) to discuss your concerns.

Ways to contact us:

If you have any concerns about this process or would like more information please contact a member of the complaints team via the details above.

What happens when I have made a complaint?

If your concern cannot be resolved within 24 hours, you will receive an acknowledgement either written or by telephone and your issues will be fully investigated.

We aim to get back to you with the result of our investigation within an agreed timeframe and we will let you know if there is likely to be a delay.

We are always happy to discuss your concerns after you have received your response; it is important to us that you feel we have done all we can to resolve the concern and respond to you.

What if I am not happy with the response?

If you are still unhappy, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review your complaint.

The Ombudsman’s number is 0345 015 4033 or you can complete an online form on their website.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about the NHS complaints process and how to complain, please visit NHS Choices