Most medical care and treatment goes well, but things occasionally go wrong and you may want to complain. Every NHS organisation now has a complaints procedure and if you feel that you need to make a complaint about services you have received at the practice this leaflet will guide you through the process.


You may also want to make positive comments on the care and services that you have received. These comments are just as important because they tell NHS organisations which factors are contributing to a good experience for patients.

So where do you start if you wish to make a complaint?

Depending on the nature of the complaint you should firstly consider one of the following options:

  • Put your complaint in writing to the Practice Manager
  • Look on the hospital or trust’s website
  • Contact the complaints department at PALS

Since April 2009 the NHS has run a simple complaints process, which has two stages.

  1. Your first step will normally be to raise the matter, in writing or by speaking to the complaints manager at the practice. The complaints manager for the Westbourne Surgery is Mrs Gail Pogson. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can raise the matter with the local primary care trust. For our area this is PALS, NHS Kirklees, Broad Lea House, Dyson Wood Way, Bradley, Huddersfield. HD2 1GZ. Telephone: 01484 464464.This is called local resolution and most cases are resolved at this stage.
  2. If you are still unhappy, you can refer the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who is independent of the NHS and government. Their address is Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP. Telephone: 0345 0154033.

What are your rights?

If you’re not happy with the care or treatment you have received or you have been refused treatment for a condition, you have the right to complain, have your complaint investigated and be given a full and prompt reply.

The NHS Constitution explains your rights when it comes to making a complaint. You have the right to:

  • Have your complaint dealt with efficiently and properly investigated
  • Know the outcome of any investigation into your complaint
  • Take your complaint to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you’re not satisfied with the way the NHS has dealt with your complaint
  • Make a claim for judicial review if you think you’ve been directly affected by an unlawful act or decision of an NHS body and
  • Receive compensation if you’ve been harmed

Who should you complain to if the matter is not connected to the practice?

You can complain either to the service that you’re unhappy with, or you can complain to your local primary care trust (PCT) which commissioned the service.


When should you complain?


Complaints should normally be made within 12 months of the date of the event that you’re complaining about, or as soon as the matter first came to your attention.


The time limit can sometimes be extended (as long as it’s still possible to investigate the complaint). An extension might be possible, such as in situations where it would have been difficult for you to complain earlier, for example, when you were grieving or undergoing trauma.


Who can help?


Making a complaint can be daunting but help is available.


You can contact: PALS (details above) for confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters to patients, their families and their carers.


Independent Complaints Advocacy Service

The patients Association                               0208 423 8999

Citizens Advice Bureau                                 0344 848 7970

Cloverleaf Advocacy                                      01924 438438

NHS Complaints Advocacy Service              0300 330 5454


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