Who can complain? You can complain about the standard of care or treatment you yourself have received. It is also possible to complain on behalf of
- A child
- Someone who has died
- Someone who through mental or physical incapacity is incapable of complaining themselves
- Someone else, provided they have given their written permission for you to do so
How do I make a complaint? If you need help making your complaint you can ask your General Practitioner (GP) or hospital for a copy of their complaints procedure which should explain to you the best way to go about making your complaint and who to address your complaint to.
If you are still unsure about how to proceed or need help making your complaint, PALS (the Patient Advice and Liaison Service), who are a department based at your local hospital, may be able to help, or there is a free NHS Complaints Advocacy Service called POhWER ICAS which offers support to people who are making a complaint to the NHS.
POhWER have an excellent self help guide to making a complaint to the NHS which can be downloaded by visiting their website – click here
The general rule of thumb for complaints about your GP is to write to the Practice Manager at the surgery in the first instance. Your local hospital or mental healthcare provider should have a Complaints Manager to whom your complaint should be addressed; if not you can always write to your local Trust’s Chief Executive Officer.
What to include in your complaint: When making your complaint you should always ensure that you are as clear as possible about what happened and do not cloud your complaint with issues that are not relevant.
What happens next? You should receive a response acknowledging your complaint within a few days of your complaint being received. This letter should give you a timescale for when you will receive a full written response detailing the results of the investigation into your complaint issues.
Depending on the circumstances of your complaint you may be invited to attend a resolution meeting at the hospital or surgery involved. If you attend a meeting of this type you are able to take along a family member or friend and in some cases, if POhWER is assisting you with your complaint, they may be able to attend the meeting with you as your advocate. A formal record of the meeting should be kept and we recommend that you always ask for a copy of the minutes of the meeting so that you have a record of what was said and what was agreed.
This first stage in the NHS complaints procedure is known as the local resolution process. If after having your complaint investigated locally you are still not satisfied with the outcome then you can take your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).
If you make a complaint to the NHS or an independent healthcare provider about the standard of care or treatment you have received then it is important to make sure that you keep copies of all of the letters that you write and any correspondence that you receive back regarding your complaint as we will need to see these in due course if you decide to pursue a claim.
To help you understand whether a claim may be possible and to explain the steps in the process the Clinical Negligence team at TSP have put together a comprehensive guide to Medical Negligence claims.
In the guide you will find detailed information about the different types of Medical Negligence claim and what to do if you believe you or a family member have been a victim of Medical Negligence. The guide also provides useful information about the steps in the Claim Process and the different funding options available.