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Steps to Take When Making a Complaint to the NHS

October 30, 2023 Medical Negligence

No one deserves to leave a medical facility worse off than when they entered. If you have undergone a medical procedure, regardless of its scale, and wish to learn the steps involved in filing a complaint to the NHS, keep reading for all the details. 

Can I file a complaint to the NHS?

Any individual, has the right to submit a complaint to the NHS. This process is facilitated through the NHS Patient Feedback and Complaints Procedure.

To be eligible to file a complaint, you will need to:

  • Have received treatment or care from the NHS.
  • Utilised the NHS service or facilities.
  • Have been directly affected or possibly affected by something an NHS staff has or hasn’t done.

What can I not use the complaints procedure for?

  •  Asking for second opinion about the care you have received.
  • Obtain compensation.
  • Complain about an issue that you have already pursued legal action about.
  • An issue that is already being investigated by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

Guidelines for filing a complaint against the NHS

If you’re considering filing a complaint, there is a two-stage process to the NHS complaints procedure:

Stage 1: Early resolution

You can make a complaint in writing, by telephone, by email, in person or using the online complaint form.

You should include as much detail about what happened as possible and how you want the complaint to be resolved, such as by being provided with an apology.

Most complaints should be resolved within five working days of the date in which the complaint is received.

If you do not receive the outcome you are looking for or the complaint is unable to be resolved at stage 1, your complaint can be escalated to stage 2.

Stage 2: Investigation

Complaints may be handled at stage 2 if you were dissatisfied with stage 1 or the complaint is complex and not suitable for early resolution.

You should receive an acknowledgement to your complaint within three working days that the complaint has been received at stage 2.

As part of the investigation, you may be asked to provide comments or to take part in a meeting to discuss the complaint.

You should receive a written response to your complaint within 20 working days.

The response should provide a response to each concern you have raised and offer you an apology if applicable. They should also confirm what action will be taken to stop the issues of your complaint from occurring again.

Time limits for making a complaint

Normally you are required to make your complaint within six months of the incident that you are seeking to complain about or within 6 months of finding out you have a reason to complain but no longer than 12 months after the incident.

The NHS do have discretion to extend the time limit for making a complaint if there are circumstances which may have prevented you from submitting a claim earlier such as health issues or grief.

What to do if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint?

You can submit your complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman within a year of the event that you are complaining about. You can also take legal action. Our team of Medical Negligence lawyers are here to simplify this process and ensure a smooth and seamless experience for our clients. Our team is highly skilled in both mediation and negotiation, and our proven track record includes successful navigation of court proceedings at all levels. With Jones Whyte by your side, you can have confidence that you will receive the best possible outcome.

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