NHS Complaints Procedure

If you are unhappy with the care or treatment you have received or you have been refused treatment for a condition, you have the right to complain.

The NHS Constitution explains patient’s rights when it comes to making a complaint.  Patients have the right to:

  • have your complaint dealt with efficiently, and properly investigated,

  • know the outcome of any investigation into your complaint,

  •  take your complaint to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you’re not satisfied with the way the NHS has dealt with your complaint,

  • make a claim for judicial review if you think you’ve been directly affected by an unlawful act or decision of an NHS body, and

  • receive compensation if you’ve been harmed.

Patients should complain either to the service that they are unhappy with, or the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that commissioned the service, or NHS England as soon as possible.  Complaints should normally be made within 12 months of the date of the event.

The NHS complaints process has two simple stages:

1. Ask the hospital or trust for a copy of its complaints procedure, which will explain how to proceed.  First step will normally be to raise the matter (in writing or by speaking to them) with the practitioner, e.g. the nurse or doctor concerned, or with their organisation, which will have a complaints manager. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can raise the matter with your local Clinical Commissioning Group.  This is called local resolution, and most cases are resolved at this stage.

2. If you are still unhappy, you can refer the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who is independent of the NHS and government.  They can be contacted in writing to or by telephoning:

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Millbank Tower
Tel: 0345 015 4033

Opening hours 8.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Was this information helpful?