If you are not happy with the medical treatment that has been provided under the National Health Service you have a right to have your concerns investigated and to be given a full response.
You can ask for the following under the NHS Complaints Procedure:
In general the NHS cannot:
Time limits for making a complaint:
Your complaint should be made no later than 12 months after the event in question, or from the date that you were first made aware of the issues.
NHS organisations do have discretion to consider complaints outside these time limits. However, it is always best to make your complaint as soon as possible, so that the recollection of all persons involved is fresh.
Your complaint should be made in writing and addressed to the Chief Executive or, in the case of family health services, the Complaints Manager at the practice concerned.
GP and Dental Practices:
Complaints should first be made directly to the service. However, NHS England commissions most primary care services, therefore you can ask them to look into the matter. They can be contacted by:
What to include in the complaint:
What happens next?
The healthcare provider should acknowledge the complaint within 3 working days. They should then:
At the end of the investigation, you should receive a formal written response. Sometimes, as part of the investigation, you may be invited to a meeting.
There is no formal time limit for the NHS to investigate and respond to your complaint. However, the whole process should be discussed and agreed with you, including any extensions, and should really be completed within 6 months.
What happens if I am not happy with the response to my complaint?
If you think that the NHS has not answered all of your concerns, then you can ask them to take further steps. This can be by asking for a further investigation or examination of the medical records. You could ask the hospital to consider obtaining an independent report from a medical expert, which can be very helpful in resolving any dispute about the medical issues.
If you are still not satisfied with the response to your complaint, you have the right to request an Independent Review by the Health Service Ombudsman.
Independent Review by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)
If you have attempted Local Resolution and are not happy with the result, or the organisation you have complained about has not completed its investigation within a reasonable time, you have the right to ask for an Independent Review of your complaint by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
You should make a request for an Independent Review within 12 months of the incident in question occurring, or when you first became aware that something had gone wrong.
You should write to the Ombudsman providing:
The Ombudsman does not accept all cases for review. They will let you know within 5 days who is dealing with the matter. Many of the cases being considered by the Ombudsman will be dealt with in a matter of months and around 80% will be dealt within 40 working days.
If your complaint is found to be justified, the Ombudsman will seek an apology or other remedy for you. This may include calling for changes to prevent such an incident happening again, or reviewing procedures. The Ombudsman can recommend compensation. If the amount of financial compensation sought is very large, or if responsibility for a failing is denied, it may be necessary to take legal action.
You can write to the Ombudsman at:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Millbank Tower
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