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Timeframes

Making an NHS complaint

The NHS encourages people to make a complaint within 12 months of an incident or something happening which you are unhappy with and would lead you to consider making a complaint.
The NHS does however understand that there are certain times or circumstances which prevent this from being possible. In this instance, a discretionary decision about whether to investigate the complaint will be made by the Trust when the complaint is received.

Making a complaint to The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)

The PHSO has a 12 month timeframe in which to receive your complaint. You are encouraged to try to achieve local resolution before proceeding to the Ombudsman. If the Ombudsman feels that your complaint has been sent to them too early, they have the right to temporarily reject the case until you have exhausted all options available at a local level.

It is quite common for NHS complaints to have gone beyond 12 months before being progressed to the Ombudsman. Again, a discretionary decision will be made when the complaint is received and it can be helpful to include a timeline with your complaint if you feel this would help to explain any delays.

Taking legal action

Usually, you have three years to seek legal advice from the time that you started your complaint. However, this can vary depending on which solicitor you speak to, so you are encouraged to ring multiple agencies or firms to gain solid advice on this area.

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