Understanding the NHS Complaints Procedure

The NHS aims to provide the best possible service to patients. However, there are times when things go wrong, and it may be best to initially consider using the NHS complaints procedure before asking specialist medical negligence lawyers to issue proceedings in court.

The NHS aims to provide the best possible service to patients. However, there are times when things go wrong, and it may be best to initially consider using the NHS complaints procedure before asking specialist medical negligence lawyers to issue proceedings in court.

At JMW, we can offer expert advice on the best ways to go about making an NHS complaint, including writing a complaints letter. Find out more about how to progress your complaint by calling us on 0800 054 6512, or allow us to contact you by completing our online enquiry form.

We have also compiled a handy guide explaining how to write an NHS complaints letter, which can be found here.

About NHS complaints

When something goes wrong with NHS treatment a complaint may result in an admission of negligence, or may lead to the release of evidence and information that might not otherwise have been made available. In the event of a complaint against a hospital being necessary, contact should initially be made directly to the hospital.

NHS complaints can come in various forms, including:

  • the quality of service
  • unclear information or explanations
  • the attitude of medical staff
  • the condition of the facilities
  • delays or cancellations
  • administrative problems
  • issues with food and other amenities
  • concerns about visiting hours

How do I make an NHS complaint?

Most hospitals encourage patients to talk to them if there are problems and in many hospitals trained staff are available to deal with the NHS complaints procedure 24 hours a day. In addition to making a personal complaint it is possible to write to the hospital's chief executive, whose address will be available upon enquiry. Following receipt of a complaint, most hospitals will send an acknowledgement and will usually give a full written explanation within a month, as well as an offer to discuss the problem further in some cases - a process known as local resolution.

In the event of a patient not being happy with the initial explanation or any subsequent requests for reconsideration, the matter can be considered by an independent review panel, which will produce a report on the investigation and make recommendations.

If you have gone through the formal NHS complaints process but do not feel that your complaint has been satisfactorily addressed, a complaint can be made to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman at www.ombudsman.org.uk/make-a-complaint.

Making a claim

If you are still not satisfied after making your complaint against the NHS and would like to seek specialist legal assistance to pursue a medical negligence claim, the team at JMW is here to help.

Our lawyers specialise in clinical negligence compensation claims and we take most cases on a no win, no fee basis, meaning there is no risk to the person bringing the claim. Legal aid is also available for people who have suffered brain damage due to medical negligence in the womb, during birth and in the first few weeks of life.

All of our solicitors are franchised by the Legal Aid Agency - a status afforded to fewer than 1% of UK solicitors - and are entitled to make an immediate application for legal aid on applicable cases.

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For additional legal advice on this or any other medical negligence-related subject, simply call us on 0800 054 6512 or complete our online enquiry form, and a member of our expert team of solicitors can speak to you at no charge and with no obligation.

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