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Compliments, Complaints and Concerns

Staff working in the NHS do their best to offer high quality services and we welcome compliments so that we can pass them on to the service concerned and note what is working well. Unfortunately sometimes things also go wrong. Our executive support team may be able to help to resolve concerns or problems, or direct you to the right place to raise your concern or seek a solution to a problem.

Many issues can be resolved quickly and simply; at other times a more appropriate way forward might be to make a complaint under the National Health Service complaints process. If you would like to talk to someone about this you could contact our executive support team (contact details below) and a member will discuss with you, confidentially, the options available regarding the issues that are concerning you.

We aim to:

  • provide you with information about the NHS and help you with any other health-related enquiry
  • help resolve concerns or problems when you are using the NHS
  • provide information about the NHS complaints procedure and how to get independent help if you decide you may want to make a complaint
  • provide you with information and help introduce you to agencies and support groups outside the NHS
  • inform you about how you can get more involved in your own healthcare and the NHS locally
  • improve the NHS by listening to your concerns, suggestions and experiences and ensuring that people who design and manage services are aware of the issues you raise
  • provide an early warning system for NHS organisations and monitoring bodies by identifying problems or gaps in services and reporting them.
NHS Complaints Procedure

Sometimes it may be more appropriate to raise the concern using the NHS complaints procedure. In this way the issues will be investigated and a written response will be provided.

The NHS complaints procedure covers complaints about the provision of NHS services whether provided by an NHS organisation or a non-NHS provider.

If the concerns raised involve more than one NHS organisation, these can be investigated jointly so that you receive a single response. This also applies where Local Authority Social Care services are involved. The following links to Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council’s web-page ‘Information about complaints for people using adult services’, may be helpful:

How do I complain?

You should complain directly to the service, for example; a GP, dentist, pharmacy, optician, community service or hospital. Each will have its own complaints procedure and systems in place for handling complaints.  All of these will have someone who is responsible for dealing with complaints and you can direct your complaint to that person.

What if I don’t want to contact them directly?

If your query, concern or complaint involves a GP, dentist, pharmacy or optician you can contact:

  • By post:     NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch B97 9PT
  • By e-mail:  England.contactus@nhs.net - please write ’For the attention of the Complaints Manager’ in the subject line.
  • By telephone: 0300 311 22 33 (Monday to Friday 8am -6pm, excluding Bank Holidays).  

For any other NHS service talk to our executive support team who can discuss this with you.

Where can I get free independent advice and support to make a complaint?
How long will I have to wait until I get a response to my complaint?

The service you are complaining about will acknowledge your complaint and agree a response time with you.  You should receive an acknowledgment, either verbal or written, within three working days of the service receiving your complaint.

What is the time limit for making a complaint?

You should normally complain within 12 months of the event concerned or within 12 months of becoming aware that you have something to complain about. The time limit may be waived if there are good reasons why you could not complain earlier. This should be discussed with the organisation you are making your complaint to, and will be considered on a case by case basis. 

If you are unhappy with the response to a complaint

You should allow your complaint to be investigated first, but if you remain dissatisfied following receipt of the response and any further discussion, you can complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.  The Ombudsman is independent of the NHS and government.

Why we value your feedback

We welcome your feedback or complaint as these are vital in improving our services and will not affect the treatment or care you receive. Sometimes information might be helpful to us for monitoring purposes, and in this case all identifying information will be removed.   We will not share any information that identifies you with other services or organisations, unless it is necessary to the investigation and resolution of your complaint, and only if you agree.                                                     

All identifiable information received is confidential and is regulated by the Data Protection Act 1998.