NHS complaints procedure – How to make a complaint about the NHS

hospital doctors

You may have suffered from medical negligence during a recent visit to the doctors, or just not been satisfied with the medical treatment that you or someone you know has received from the NHS. If this is the case, you can make a complaint to the NHS about what has occurred to you or the person you are complaining on behalf of.


What is the NHS complaints policy?

There are two main ways of making a complaint with the NHS. One way is to register a complaint with the healthcare provider, which will be the organisation where you received the treatment. This will often be the doctor’s surgery or hospital where you were treated. The other way is to complain to the commissioner, which will be the organisation that pays for the service or care that you received. This is dependent on the NHS service that you’re complaining about, so it’s best to check who this might be before making a complaint, as this might be a trust or another organisation entirely.

As for who can complain, you can make a complaint if you’re the one affected by it. Additionally a family member can complain, a parent can if the child is under 16, a friend, or even a third party organisation such as NHS Advocacy which can assist you in writing a complain as well as attending meetings with you if necessary. There are sample letters available online from various medical negligence solicitors which can help you with writing a letter of complaint should you choose to not use a third party organisation and opt to doing it on your own.

One other thing to consider before making a complaint is that there are time limits on it. You can’t make a complaint if it’s after 12 months after the event itself, or 12 months from the date that you were first made aware of the issues, but in certain cases, NHS organisations may consider complaints that happen outside of these time limits. So it’s best to make the complaint as soon as possible so that the complaints process can get started as quickly as possible and your complaint is properly registered with the appropriate departments.

Do I need legal representation when making a complaint?

Not necessarily. However, if you feel like your complaint wasn’t satisfactorily answered or responded to, you can seek an independent review of your complaint, which may potentially require legal representation. It’s best to check with a firm of medical negligence lawyers, such as specialist medical negligence London based firm Hodge Jones & Allen, as to whether the review and the results of it may require legal representation to get the result you desire after making a complaint.

Hopefully you won’t have to register a complaint any time soon with the NHS but in case you do, it’s always best to do your research beforehand so you know exactly what to do and how to go about making a complaint.


This is a collaborative post.

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