If you’re unhappy with an NHS service, it’s often worthwhile discussing your concerns early on with the provider of the service, as they may be able to sort the issue out quickly. If your issue is more serious, or you don’t feel you can solve it informally, you may want to make a formal complaint.

This page tells you how you can make a formal complaint about different services in the NHS and information on how to escalate a complaint if you are not happy with the response you have received.

For any NHS organisation, you can complain in writing, by email or by speaking to someone in the organisation. You should make your complaint within 12 months of the incident or within 12 months of the matter coming to your attention. This time limit can sometimes be extended as long as it is still possible to investigate your complaint.

How to complain about a GP 

Before making a complaint, you sould raise your concerns verbally with either the GP or the practice manager. If your issue cannot be resolved informally, you should follow the GP practice complaints process, this information should be available on their website or you can request this information over the phone or in person.

At every GP surgery, there has to be a procedure to deal with complaints, and someone who is responsible for dealing with complaints. You should follow the guidance provided by the practice, this should also outline what to expect from the practice after making your complaint.

If you are not happy with the response from the practice, you can escalate your complaint to NHS England, who buy and run GP services in England. You can find information on how to do this here.

How to complain about an NHS Dental Practice

If you wish to make a complaint about an NHS dentist or dental practice, try to resolve it directly with them first. Contact the dental surgery’s practice manager with details of your complaint. You can complain in writing, by email or by speaking to someone. You should be able to find the practice’s complaints policy on their website or by speaking to reception.

If you are not happy with the response from the practice, you can escalate your complaint to NHS England, who buy and run dental services in England. You can find information on how to do this here.

How to complain about a private dental practice

To make a complaint about a private dentist, you should contact the practice manager of the private dental surgery. 

If your complaint is not resolved satisfactorily, you can contact the General Dental Council, which sets standards of conduct and regulates all dental professionals in the UK. It may be able to investigate your concerns.

You can also contact the Dental Complaints Service.

How to complain to Chesterfield Royal Hospital

If you have a concern or a complaint, you should contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at the hospital.

PALS can’t offer any medical advice, but they can help you find the right person to talk to if you have have concerns around your care.  They will do their best to answer your questions, but if they can’t they will put you in touch with someone who can. If you wish to raise a formal complaint, PALS can take some details and get someone from their Assistance and Complaints Service to contact you; they can talk you through what will happen and help you with your complaint. More information.

How to complain about a service run by University Hospitals of Derby and Burton

  • Royal Derby Hospital
  • Queens Hospital Burton
  • Florence Nightingale Community Hospital (formerly London Road Community Hospital)
  • Samuel Johnson Community Hospital
  • Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital

A member of the PALS team will listen and discuss with you the most appropriate way to take your concerns forward and can also give advice on independent advocacy services and the formal complaints process. More information.

How to complain about a care home

You should first raise your concern or complaint with the care home manager as this may get your complaint resolved quickly, or you could put your concerns into a letter if you prefer.

If the problem hasn’t been resolved via speaking with the manager, and the care home is funded by the council, you should contact them next. Visit Derbyshire County Council’s website to find out how to do this.

If you are self-funding, you should contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and ask about its independent complaints review service.

How to complain about Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS)

This leaflet outlines you what you should expect from DCHS and how to contact them regarding a concern or complaint.

If you are not happy with the way your complaint has been dealt with and would like to take the matter further, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) who make final decisions on unresolved complaints about the NHS in England. It is an independent service, free for everyone to use.

To take your complaint to the Ombudsman, visit the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website or call 0345 015 4033.

Guides to help you make a complaint

Healthwatch England, the national support body for local Healthwatch, have worked with Citizens Advice to produce a set of guides that help people navigate the current complaints system.

You can find out more about what’s involved in making a complaint about a particular service and see what your next steps might be:

Tips and tools: health and social care service complaints

If you feel you need some support to make a formal complaint, you can do this through an advocacy service. Read more about advocacy services here.

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