Raising concerns and complaints about the NHS
Step 1 – What are you concerned about?
Before you start, it is important to be clear about what your concerns are with the NHS treatment or care received. This can be any aspect of NHS care and services, but might include:
• Treatment or care.
• The attitude of staff.
• Poor communication.
• Waiting times.
• Lack of information.
• Failure to diagnose a condition.
Here are some ‘real-life’ examples of issues raised:
• An emergency ambulance took over an hour to arrive.
• A patient was given incorrect information about a medical procedure and suffered pain as a result.
• A surgical procedures outcome was not as expected
• A GP refused to do a home visit
• An elderly patient frequently had to wait a long time for routine transport home from hospital appointments.
• A patient felt that a nurse had treated him without respect.
• A patient did not get the support they needed following discharge from hospital because of a lack of communication between the hospital and social care services.
Write down what your concerns are as simply and clearly as you can so that you can refer back to it later.
If you need help to write down what you want to complain about or would like to talk through the issues with an advocate you can contact NHS Complaints Advocacy Stockport
Step 2 – What do you want to achieve?
Think about what you want to achieve. Your issues are more likely to be dealt with smoothly if you can be specific and realistic. Try to think about what outcomes you want for your complaint and talk to your NHS Complaints Advocate if you need to check if these are realistic.
Step 3 – Who do I raise my concerns with?
There are different ways that you can do this and it helps to think about what you feel comfortable with. You can:
- Speak to a member of staff directly – Many complaints are caused by misunderstandings or poor communication that can be put right once you explain the problem. If you feel able to, you can speak to a member of staff who is directly involved in your treatment, or their manager, about what you are concerned or dissatisfied about. This is often the quickest way to put things right.
NHS organisations tend to prefer having complaints in writing but if you would rather telephone or go in person, the Complaints Manager should make a written record of your complaint. The issues you raise should be written down and a copy given to you.
- Follow the NHS complaints procedure (as explained on the front sheet of the pack).
GP Practices, Dentists, Chiropodists, Opticians etc.
You have two choices; firstly, you can approach your local GP, dentist, pharmacist or optician to ask about their own complaints procedure. For example, you could put your complaint about a GP in writing to the Practice Manager. Your complaint should then be acknowledged and the practice will aim to respond within 10 working days to offer you an explanation or a meeting with the people involved. Please note these timeframes can change during busy periods.
You can write to NHS England who is responsible for overseeing these services.
NHS Commissioning Board
PO Box 16738
Phone: 0300 311 22 33 (Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm, except Wednesdays when open at 9:30am). Excludes English Bank Holidays).
Please write ‘For the attention of the Complaints Manager’ in the subject line.
Stepping Hill Hospital and NHS Stockport Foundation Trust
The Patient and Customer Services (PCS) Department at Stepping Hill hospital are available to try and help you with your complaint. They provide information, advice and support to patients, families, friends, partners and carers and can help you get answers to your questions quickly.
If the PCS are unable to resolve your issues and you wish to make your complaint in writing then this will firstly be reviewed by the Head or Deputy Head of Patient & Customer Services and graded according to the complexity and severity of the issues raised. A case officer will be appointed to your case and this person will co-ordinate the investigation. You can write to:
Patient and Customer Services Department
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
Stepping Hill Hospital
0161 419 5678
For complaints about mental health care in Stockport you should write to:
Pennine Care NHS Foundation (Provides mental health services)
Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust Headquarters
225 Old Street
Tel: 0161 716 3083
NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
This service provides support regarding the commissioning, strategy and funding decisions of NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Eg. If a person is unhappy that there are not enough IVF cycles funded or that there are no psychiatrists who can diagnose adults with Asperger syndrome.
Any complaints regarding commissioning and funding can be put to:
The Complaints Manager
Tel: 0161 426 9900
For any other NHS services which are not listed above please call the NHS Complaints Advocacy service who will be able to help you.