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About NHS complaints

If you wish to make a complaint about an NHS organisation, contact them directly first. If you're not sure where to start or how to get in touch with an NHS body or independent regulator, try one of the following options.


NHS complaints procedure

The NHS has its own complaints procedure, which is always the first step for any complaint. You can find detailed information about the NHS complaints procedure on NHS Choices.

You can also raise your concerns by getting in touch with regulatory bodies, such as the Care Quality Commission. Read more about this in other options for complaints.

Download the report on the number of written complaints received by NHS trusts in England from April 1 2008 to March 31 2009.


The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

If you have tried the NHS complaints procedure but are dissatisfied with the response to your complaint, contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The Ombudsman carries out independent investigations into complaints about government departments, their agencies and the NHS.
Include the following details in your complaint:

  • your name, address and telephone number,
  • name and contact details of anyone helping you with the complaint,
  • name and contact details of the healthcare provider you wish to complain about,
  • the factual details of your complaint (listing the main events and when they happened),
  • why you think your previous complaint wasn’t resolved to your satisfaction, and how this has caused you injustice,
  • details of the complaints you've already made to the healthcare provider and the outcome of their investigations, and
  • copies of any relevant documents (it's usually helpful to number these and provide a list).

Keep copies of everything you post, and make a note of when you send it. There are more details about How to make a complaint to the Ombudsman on the Public Law Project’s website.


NHS Choices patient feedback

You can comment on GP practices and NHS hospitals on this website. Find the practice or hospital you wish to comment on by using our Find services function (right), then open its page.

For hospitals, click the ‘patient feedback’ tab. You can rate whether the hospital:

  • was clean,
  • had doctors and nurses who worked well together,
  • had staff who treated you with dignity and respect, and
  • had staff who involved you in decisions about your care.

For GP practices, click the 'add your views' link. You can rate the practice on:

  • how easy it is to reach by telephone
  • how easy it is to get an appointment when you want one
  • whether staff treat you with dignity and respect
  • whether you are involved in decisions about your care and treatment
  • whether it provides accurate and up to date information on services and opening hours

You can make comments on what you liked about the service, and what you feel could be improved. Your comments must comply with our rules on:

  • relevance, civility and decency,
  • defamation and libel,
  • health, advice, medical products and commercial activity, and
  • legal issues, negligence and criminal activity.

If your comments comply with these rules, they will be posted on this site for other users of the service to see. The service may respond to your comments.

You can also use the NHS Choices feedback form. Submit feedback about the NHS and its services by selecting the relevant service on the form.



Last reviewed: 31/07/2009

Next review due: 31/07/2011

Health regulators

Learn about the watchdogs that monitor the NHS and other public healthcare providers.