Complaints and Comments
Everyone has the right, under the NHS constitution to provide feedback, comments or to make a complaint about health services. The way in which you do this depends on the services that you have used.
For example, feedback for GP services should be given directly to the local surgery, via the practice manager or the receptionist. Feedback for hospital services are managed by the hospital trust, most often by a dedicated complaints team.
Telling us your views, whether it be a comment or a complaint, helps us to know what we are doing well, learn lessons from mistakes, and prevent them happening to anyone else.
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. This should be within a year of the event. You can make a complaint on your own or on behalf of someone else if you have their permission.
As you know, the NHS is facing significant challenges due to coronavirus. NHS staff are working hard to maintain high quality care in hospitals, GP surgeries and other services. All NHS staff are focusing on patient care and supporting front line staff to deal with this emergency.
This will mean that there will be delays to responding to your complaint. This is because we need clinical and other staff to review your complaint and contribute to the investigation and they are currently supporting the NHS to respond to this virus.
We will try to respond to as many complaints as we can where we receive the clinical input required.
As NHS services respond to the impact of Coronavirus, some of them may not be able to take calls regarding your complaint but you can contact them via email.
Further information can be found on the NHS England’s website.
Who should I contact with my complaint?
This depends on which NHS service you want to complain about:
How to get in touch with PALS
The Barts Health Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) offers free and confidential support, information and advice to all their patients and their relatives, friends and carers. Contact details for PALS across the Barts Health hospital sites can be found below:
Visit the team in person by visiting the drop in service between 9.30am-4.30pm on Monday – Friday at the following locations:
- The Royal London Hospital – second floor central tower, near core lift 5 in the main building
- Newham University Hospital – zone 1, St Andrews Wing
- Whipps Cross University Hospital – junction 4 in the main building
- The Royal London and Mile End Hospital: 020 3594 2040
- Newham and St Bart’s Hospital: 020 7363 9292
- Whipps Cross Hospital: 0208 535 6438
Mental Health Services
If you have a concern or question about a mental health service, please contact East London NHS Foundation Trust's Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS) on Freephone: 0800 783 4839 / Telephone: 020 7655 4021 or 020 7655 4009. By email: PALSandComplaints@elft.nhs.uk Write to or drop in at:
Patient Advice and Liaison Service
9 Alie Street
If you have a concern, complaint or compliment about a hospital, please click on the links below which will take you to their contact details:
- Mile End Hospital
- Newham University Hospital
- St Bartholomew's Hospital
- The Royal London Hospital
- Whipps Cross University Hospital
Doctor (GP), dentist, pharmacist or optometrist
Contact the service directly or the NHS England Customer Contact Centre:Phone: 0300 311 22 33 (this is charged as a local rate call)
Address: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT
Should you wish for us to be aware of your complaint please send a copy of your complaint to us (contact details below), however the responsibility for investigating the issues remains with the service complained about.
NHS services commissioned for the people of Tower Hamlets
If you have a complaint relating to the way an NHS service has been commissioned, or you have been directly affected by a commissioning decision made by us, please contact the Patient Experience Team at North and East London Commissioning Alliance (NELCA). They can be contacted on 020 3688 1666 or by email: ELHCP.firstname.lastname@example.org
* NELCA - North East London Commissioning Alliance covers the following CCGs: City and Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge CCGs
NEL CSU will retain personal information for the purpose of this complaint investigation only. In order for us to make improvements to the services you receive, anonymous information about your complaint may be shared as part of our reporting process. Should you have any concerns with regard to this arrangement please contact us on 020 3688 2521 or at email@example.com.
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.
Can I get help and support with making my complaint?
London IHCAS Advocacy Hub
You can find more information on the NHS complaints procedure on the NHS Choices website - http://www.nhs.uk.
What will happen once I make my complaint?
Complaints will be dealt with in a manner that is proportional to the issues raised. Your complaint will be investigated and the NHS organisation responsible will aim to resolve the concerns and, where needed, will take action to prevent the incident from happening again.
Will my complaint remain confidential?
Whilst your right to confidentiality will be respected, when investigating your complaint we may need to share information regarding your case with a third party within the NHS.
We will require your consent in order to do this. It may, therefore, be useful when making your complaint to include your consent.
There may be times when we need to share information without your consent for example, to protect children and vulnerable adults.
How do I give my consent to let NHS agencies share information about my complaint?
You can either write this in as part of your complaint, or use the sample text below.
In order to allow you to fully investigate my complaint, I understand you may need to contact other services within the NHS and I hereby give you my consent to do so. [insert name, telephone/ mobile number, email address]
If you are writing to complain on behalf of someone else, you can either write this in as part of your complaint, or use the sample text below.
In order to allow you to fully investigate the complaint raised on my behalf, I hereby give you my consent to do so [insert name, relationship with complainant]
What if I am still not satisfied?
If you are unhappy with the response to your complaint you should contact the service directly to see if they can look into the case further. You also have the right to take your complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman. However, please note that the Ombudsman is currently not accepting any new complaints about the NHS because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is to help ensure the NHS can focus its resources on urgent healthcare. The Ombudsman will keep the situation under close and regular review. There are time limits for taking a complaint to the Ombudsman, although the Ombudsman can waive them if it is perceived that there is good reason to do so.
Once the situation is back to normal, there will be time limits for taking a complaint to the Ombudsman, although the Ombudsman can waive these time limits if it is perceived that there is good reason to do so.You can contact their helpline on 0345 015 4033 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information is also available at www.ombudsman.org.uk. You can write to the Ombudsman at: The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP.