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For most people the NHS, whether you are using your GP, hospital or dentist, works well. But sometimes things do go wrong and you may be unhappy with your care or the service you have received.
It is important to give your NHS provider both good & bad feedback.
If you have a problem, it is worthwhile discussing your concerns with the provider as soon as it occurs as it may be possible to rectify the issue and reduce the impact of what has gone wrong. If you do make an informal complaint, it is a good idea to make notes beforehand and check that any written notes by the care provider tallies with your recollection and ask for a copy.
If you decide to make an official complaint, you can do this directly using the complaints procedure of the care or service provider. You cannot do this if you’ve already had the problem sorted verbally by the next day; or used any other formal complaints procedure.
You should make your complaint as soon as is practicable – and within 12 months. If there is good reason why you haven’t complained within that time, you may still be able to make one, if it is still possible to investigate or you were unable to complain due to trauma.
Who can complain? Usually it is the person who received the care. If you want to complain on behalf of someone else you can; but you will need their written consent (or Power of Attorney for Health & Wellbeing). Or if the person has died, you will need to prove you are the next of kin, if you want to complain. There should be acknowledgement of your letter within 3 working days, and a timescale for investigation given as well as how they intend to go about it. The only guideline about how long an investigation may take is that it should be “reasonable” as it will depend on the complexity of the issues.
If the investigation is complete and you are not happy, you can go to the Ombudsman with your complaint. The ombudsman will also be the person to approach if the investigation into your complaint at the local level is taking a long time.
For full information about how to complain see: How to make a complaint to the NHS
This has links to tips for writing a letter of complaint and organisations which can help.
Another useful website is: How to give feedback or make a complaint to the NHS