This includes help you get from:
- their GP
- healthcare and hospital staff
- ambulance staff
Try to sort the problem out informally
Try to talk directly to the health professional or NHS service where you, or the person you care for, are being treated. Think about what you would like as an outcome and see if the problem can be sorted quickly and informally.
Get help and advice to resolve the problem
You can get support to help you resolve issues with some NHS services before they become formal complaints. These services will also be able to help you, or the person you care for, through the process of making a complaint if needed.
- If you live in England the Patient Advice and Liaison Service can give you information about the NHS complaints procedure. Find your nearest PALS using online search.
- If you live in Scotland the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) can support you if you want to make a complaint. You can also contact any Citizens Advice Bureau in Scotland to ask about PASS. If you live in Northern Ireland the Patient and Client Council can help you make a complaint. It provides free and confidential advice and information. Find contact details for your Patient and Client Council.
- If you live in Wales your local Community Health Council can help you to make a complaint. They provide free and independent advocacy.
If you need help to make a complaint then advocacy may be able to help.
Make a formal complaint directly to the organisation
If you have tried to sort out the problem informally and you are still not happy with the outcome it may be time to make a more formal complaint.
All NHS services will have a complaints procedure. This may be on their website, in their waiting room, or you can just ask staff for more information. They will also have someone who is responsible for dealing with complaints and you can ask to speak to them.
Complain to the NHS directly
If you don’t want to complain directly to the NHS service where you received treatment you can contact the NHS directly. How you do this depends on where you live.
NHS complaints in England
Instead of complaining directly to the NHS services where you, or the person you care for, are being treated, you can also complain to NHS England or your local clinical commissioning group (CCG).
- To complain to NHS England contact NHS England
- To complain about hospitals and other secondary care (such as mental health services, out of hours services, NHS 111 and community services) contact your local clinical commissioning group (CCG). The CCG is the group that pays for the NHS services that you use where you live. Every CCG will have its own complaints procedure, which should be on their website. Search for your local clinical commissioning group (CCG) online.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman makes final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments and other public organisations. The service is free.
Find out more about when and who can make a complaint about the NHS in England on feedback and complaints about the NHS in England.
Make a complaint about health services in Northern Ireland
If you are unhappy with the treatment you receive from the health and social care service in Northern Ireland, the quality of care provided by a nursing home or treatment you have paid for at a private clinic, find out more on nidirect.
NHS complaints in Scotland
Find out how to complain about a GP, pharmacy, dentist or hospital in Scotland on NHS inform.
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman is the final stage for complaints about the NHS.
NHS complaints in Wales
Find out more about how to make a complaint about the NHS in Wales on the Health in Wales website.
Let others know about your experiences of the NHS
There are also websites, such as Care Opinon, where you can let others know about your experiences of using health services.
Next update due: January 2020