Need help with a non-urgent medical or admin request? Contact us online.


Complaints Procedure

Whilst we strive to offer an excellent service to our patients at all times, we recognise that on occasions things may go wrong. If you have any suggestions or concerns please discuss things either with your doctor or with members of staff at the time so we can try to resolve them immediately.

If more serious and you wish to make a formal complaint, please write to the Practice Manager, Mrs Gill Costello. Your complaint will normally receive a written reply of acknowledgment within two working days. A written report of the result or progress of this investigation will be sent to you within ten working days of your original written complaint.

The NHS Complaints Procedure

The NHS complaints procedure has quite strict guidelines which must be followed when making a complaint. This is to ensure each complaint is treated in the same way.

The most important point to remember is that a complaint must be made in writing to the part of the NHS you want to make a complaint about. For example, if you are unhappy with your family doctor or dentist you need to write to the surgery. It is best to address the letter to the Practice Manager. If you are unhappy with services provided at a hospital you should write to the Chief Executive of the hospital.

We ask you to make complaints directly to the part of the NHS you are unhappy with because most problems can be sorted out quickly and easily between the people directly involved. However, you should always send a copy of your letter to the Health Authority’s complaints team at the same time so that they can monitor your complaint and make sure it is not forgotten or ignored.

When Should I Complain?

It is important that you make your complain as soon as possible after the event you wish to complain about.

Usually the NHS will only investigates complaints that are either:

  • made within six months of the event; or
  • made within six months of you realising you have something to complain about (and not more than 12 months after the event itself).

These time limits can be waived if you can show there is good reason why you could not complain sooner.

What happens after I write my letter of complaint?

Most complaints can be resolved quickly and easily between those directly involved. This first stage is called local resolution.

If you are complaining to a GP, dentist, pharmacy or optician the practice should acknowledge your complaint within two working days and you will receive a full reply within ten working days.

If you are complaining to an NHS Trust i.e. a hospital, mental health unit, or community health care service you should get an acknowledgement within two working days and a full reply within 20 working days.

What if I am not happy with the response to my letter?

The response from who you are complaining about is known as the local resolution stage of a complaint. If you are not satisfied with the response you get you can ask for an independent review. You must request an independent review within four weeks of getting the local resolution letter.

The local resolution letter will tell you who you need to contact if you want to ask for an independent review. When you write to request an independent review you must include clear reasons why you believe one is necessary.

Your request will be considered by a convenor. These are non-executive directors of a trust or health authority who have been specially trained to decide if independent reviews are appropriate.

The convenor’s decision on whether your complaint needs a independent review will be sent to you within 10 working days for GP, dental, pharmaceutical or optical complaints and 20 working days for Trust complaints should be sent to you within ten working days.

What if I’m not given an independent review, or I’m not happy with its result?

An independent review is the final stage in the NHS complaints procedure. If the convenor decides your case does not need an independent review, or you are not satisfied with the outcome of such a review you can take your complaint further outside the NHS.

You can ask the Health Service Commissioner (Ombudsman) to investigate. The ombudsman is independent of both the NHS and the Government, and will let you know if he is able to investigate your complaint.

NHS England
PO Box 16738
B97 9PT
Email: [email protected] (Please use the subject title “For the attention of the complaints manager”)
Tel: 0300 311 22 33 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, excluding English Bank Holidays)

Interpreting Service

We can arrange for a meeting with the Practice Manager and an Interpreter for any patient whose first language is not English and needs help with their complaint.

In General

If you have a complaint to make, you can either contact the Practice Manager or ask the Receptionist for a copy of our Complaints Procedure. We will endeavour to:

  1. acknowledge any letter or Complaints Form within 3 working days of receiving it.
  2. deal with the matter as promptly as possible – usually within 20 working days – dependent on the nature of the complaint.

Who can complain

  • Complainants may be current or former patients, or their nominated or elected representatives (who have been given consent to act on the patients behalf).
  • Patients over the age of 16 whose mental capacity is unimpaired should normally complain themselves or authorise someone to bring a complaint on their behalf.
  • Children under the age of 16 can also make their own complaint, if they’re able to do so.

If a patient lacks capacity to make decisions, their representative must be able to demonstrate sufficient interest in the patient’s welfare and be an appropriate person to act on their behalf. This could be a partner, relative or someone appointed under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 with lasting power of attorney.

Appropriate person

In certain circumstances, we need to check that a representative is the appropriate person to make a complaint.

  • For example, if the complaint involves a child, we must satisfy ourselves that there are reasonable grounds for the representative to complain, rather than the child concerned.
  • If the patient is a child or a patient who lacks capacity, we must also be satisfied that the representative is acting in the patient’s best interests.

If we are not satisfied that the representative is an appropriate person we will not consider the complaint, and will give the representative the reasons for our decision in writing.

Time limits

A complaint must be made within 12 months, either from the date of the incident or from when the complainant first knew about it.

The regulations state that a responsible body should only consider a complaint after this time limit if:

  • the complainant has good reason for doing so, and
  • it’s still possible to investigate the complaint fairly and effectively, despite the delay.


We have a two stage complaints procedure. We will always try to deal with your complaint quickly however if it is clear that the matter will need a detailed investigation, we will notify you and then keep you updated on our progress.

Stage one – Early, local resolution

  • We will try to resolve your complaint within five working days if possible.
  • If you are dissatisfied with our response, you can ask us to escalate your complaint to Stage Two.

Stage Two – Investigation

  • We will look at your complaint at this stage if you are dissatisfied with our response at Stage One.
  • We also escalate some complaints straight to this stage, if it is clear that they are complex or need detailed investigation.
  • We will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days and we will give you our decision as soon as possible. This will be no more that 20 working days unless there is clearly a good reason for needing more time to respond.

Take it Further

Complain to the Ombudsman

If, after receiving our final decision, you remain dissatisfied you may take your complaint to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman is independent of the NHS and free to use. It can help resolve your complaint, and tell the NHS how to put things right if it has got them wrong.

The Ombudsman only has legal powers to investigate certain complaints. You must have received a final response from the Practice before the Ombudsman can look at your complaint and it will generally not look into your complaint if it happened more than 12 months ago, unless there are exceptional circumstances.


Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman
Tower 30
London SW1P 4QP

Phone: 0345 015 4033

E: email the Ombudsman 

However, before considering taking this step, we hope you would let us know what aspect of the complaint has not been dealt with satisfactorily and provide an opportunity for us to consider whether there is anything further that could be done locally to resolve matters.

Other organisations that can help you make a complaint about health services


All complaints will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of the patient’s medical records, we will inform the patient or person acting on his/her behalf if the investigation will involve disclosure of information contained in those records to a person other than the Practice or an employee of the Practice.

We keep a record of all complaints and copies of all correspondence relating to complaints, but such records will be kept separate from patients’ medical records.

Statistics and reporting

The Practice must submit to the local primary care organisation periodically/at agreed intervals details of the number of complaints received and actioned.

Give feedback or make a complaint

You can complain to a member of staff at the NHS service you went to, such as a GP surgery or hospital, or you can complain to the organisation in charge.