We all have the right to good mental health care. If you’re unhappy with your GP, doctor’s surgery, mental health service or other NHS treatment, you can complain to them directly, or to the NHS in your region. This guide outlines things you can do if you are not happy with the care you have received.
Complain about your GP surgery
If you’d like to complain about your GP or your GP surgery, ask them for a copy of their complaints procedure, and use this to help you.
Keep a record of who you speak or write to, and on what date. If you raise your complaint verbally, make sure you write down everything you discuss.If you are verbally making a complaint, specify that this should be taken as a formal complaint.
Included in your formal complaint should be the following:
- What or who you’re complaining about
- What happened and when
- What you’d like to be done to resolve your complaint
- How to contact you to discuss it further
Your complaint should be acknowledged within three working days, and you should also be told about the outcome of the investigation. Once your complaint has been investigated, you’ll receive a written response. To have your complaint investigated, you usually need to complain within 12 months of the event happening, or as soon as you first become aware of the issue you want to complain about.
Contact your local NHS trust
Depending on where you live in the UK, the NHS complaints process may be slightly different. If you don’t want to complain directly to your GP or doctor’s surgery, or you are unhappy with their response, you need to contact the NHS trust in your region:
Get help with your complaint
You local NHS trust may have an advocacy service to help support you during your complaint process, or may be able to refer you to a local advocacy service. To find contact information in your local area, contact your local authority’s customer services department.
Your local can also signpost you to organisations that can help with your GP complaint, and have a useful guide to making a complaint.
You local Citizens Advice offer may also be able to help. They also have a guide to making a complaint.
Complain to the Ombudsman
If you’re unhappy with the final response from your GP practice you can take your complaint to the health service ombudsman. The ombudsman is independent of the NHS and free to use. It can help resolve your complaint, and tell the NHS how to put things right if it has got them wrong. The ombudsman only has legal powers to investigate certain complaints. You must have received a final response from your GP practice before the ombudsman can look at your complaint. The ombudsman will generally not look into your complaint if it happened more than 12 months ago, unless there are exceptional circumstances. We advise making your complaint in writing using any designated forms provided by the ombudsman. However, you may also be able to email and phone the ombudsman about your complaint.
The ombudsman you contact will differ depending on which region you live in.
Complain to the Clinical Commissioning Group
You can contact your local clinical commissioning group (CCG) for complaints about secondary care, such as hospital care, mental health services, out-of-hours services, NHS 111 and community services like district nursing, for example. Every CCG will have its own complaints procedure, which is often displayed on its website. Find contact details for CCGs.