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How to complain about a health service...

Complaining about a health service

Making a complaint helps organisations learn lessons from mistakes and stops them from happening again to you or other people. 

You can get help to make a complaint about something that was not right about the service you recieved from a health service or organisation like the CCG or the NHS. 

Last updated: 27/04/18

Compaints about primary care optical services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists...

NHS England is responsible for purchasing primary care services such as:

  • GPs
  • dentists
  • pharmacists
  • optical services and
  • some specialised services

You can contacted NHS England to make a formal official complaint. 

Find out more:  NHS England Complaints


How can I make a complaint?

You can make a complaint:

  • in writing
  • by email
  • over the telephone or
  • in person.

Your complaint should be made; as soon as possible, within a year of the event, on your own behalf, on behalf of someone else if you have their permission


Who should I contact with my complaint?

Contact the service you are making a complaint about directly


NHS England Customer Contact Centre
Phone: 0300 311 2233


Hospitals, Emergency Care, Mental Health, Community and other services...

All services providing NHS care will have a complaints process in line with the NHS complaints process.

If you have a complaint about a hospital, mental health, community or other NHS service, you should contact the organisations directly.

If you want the CCG to know about your complaint as well please send a copy of it to us: 

NHS City And Hackney CCG

Phone: 020 3816 3222

Address: 3rd Floor A Block, St Leonards Hospital, Nuttall Street, London, N1 5LZ


The responsibility for investigating your complaint is with the service that you have complained about.

Local providers have their own details and contact information about how to make a complaint:


Commissioning complaints about NHS services in City and Hackney...

If you have a complaint about the way an NHS service has been commissioned or how this has directly affected you, contact:

The North and East London Commissioning Support Unit (NEL CSU)

Patient Experience and Effectiveness Team,

Phone: 0208 926 5404 / 5075


NEL CSU are an NHS organisation who manage the complaints process on our behalf.

Information on how to make a complaint can be made available:

  • in other languages
  • on audio cassette or CD
  • in large print
  • Braille and
  • in illustrated format

Interpreters can also be arranged, including sign interpreters.

Help and support with making my complaints...

An organisation called Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service - provided by POhWER can help you with support and advocacy.

Contact: Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service - provided by POhWER

Helpline: 0300 456 2370

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Homerton University Hospital

Homerton Row



E9 6SR

Phone: 020 8510 7315

Fax: 020 8510 7733  



PALS office is based in the main entrance of Homerton hospital.

This service can be contacted Monday - Friday 9am-5pm

What will happen once I make my complaint?

Complaints will be dealt with in a way that is appropriate for the issues that your complaint has raised.

Complaint will be investigated by the NHS organisation responsible.

They will aim to resolve the concerns and, where needed, will take action to stop the same thing from happening again to you and other people.

Once you complaint is recieved you will: 

  • have your complaint acknowledged and properly looked into
  • be kept informed of progress and told the outcome
  • be treated fairly, politely and with respect
  • be reassured that your care and treatment will not be affected as a result of making a complaint
  • be offered the opportunity to discuss the complaint with a complaints manager
  • expect appropriate action to be taken following your complaint

Will my complaint remain confidential?

You will not be treated unfavourably if you make a complaint. 

Most of the time nobody except the people you have told will know about it. 

Your right to confidentiality will be respected throughout the investigation into your complaint.

Sometimes when we need to share information without your consent, for example to protect children and vulnerable adults.


What if I am still not satisfied?

If you are unhappy with the way your complaint is dealt with you should contact the service directly to see if they can look into what happened and why you are not satisfied.

You can take your complaint further by going to the Health Service Ombudsman.

There are time limits for taking a complaint to the Ombudsman but the Ombudsman can decide to look at it if they think that there is good reason to do so.

You can write to the Ombudsman...

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,

Millbank Tower,


London SW1P 4QP

Ombudsman helpline: 0345 015 4033



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