Complaints

Whilst we strive to offer an excellent service to out 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.

Post:
NHS England
PO Box 16738
Redditch
B97 9PT
Email: england.contactus@nhs.net (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)