How do I go about making a complaint or compliment about my GP or hospital?

You have a right to complain if you are not happy with any aspect of care or advice that you have received from your GP or from the NHS. This is normally done through a two-step process: local resolution and then through an Ombudsman. Complaints about an NHS service should be made within twelve months from the date the event happened.

You can also share your experience of UK health services via Patient Opinion.

Local Resolution

  • If your complaint or concern is regarding a GP, Dentist, Optician, Pharmacist or regarding a funding decision then you should contact the service in the first instance or to the Patient Experience Team at Bridgewater Community Healthcare Trust (tel: 0800 849 7088) email: talk2us@hsthpct.nhs.uk).
  • If your complaint or concern is regarding Community Health services (e.g. a District Nurse or Health Visitor) then you should contact the Customer Care Team at Bridgewater Community Healthcare Trust (tel: 0800 849 7088 or email: customer.care@hsthpct.nhs.uk)

Ombudsman
You can make a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you are unhappy with the response to your complaint after local resolution. They will listen to your case and then carry out an independent investigation into what has happened. They can be contacted on 0345 015 4033 or alternatively you can request a call back by texting ‘call back’ (with your name and number) to 076 248 130 05.

It may be possible to challenge the final decision of your complaint by taking court action, also known as a judicial review. Judicial review is a procedure which allows a court of law to review decisions made by public bodies – please see their website for further information.

You may also find it useful to have someone to help you put across your case (known as advocacy), for example if you are a mental health service user or have a learning disability. You can search online for advocacy groups at www.actionforadvocacy.org.uk or phone 020 7820 7868.

Other options
Alternatively, ICAS (Independent Complaints Advocacy Service) can help you if you feel that you have not had the service that you expect from the NHS and want to make a formal complaint. ICAS is independent of the NHS, confidential, free and can support you with your complaint by helping you write letters, attend meetings with you, help you to explore your options and to help you make decisions. ICAS can be contacted at their Liverpool office on 0300 456 8350 or liverpoolicas@carersfederation.co.uk.

AVMA (Action against Medical Accidents) is an independent charity which promotes better patient safety and justice for people who have been affected by a medical accident. AvMA provides free and confidential advice and support to people affected by medical accidents via their helpline (0845 123 2352 open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm) and casework service.