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Tips for making a complaint

The vast majority of patients are satisfied with their treatment and level of care they receive. But if something goes wrong and you want to make a complaint, where do you start?

Consider these points before making your complaint.

What do you want to achieve?

Think carefully about your ideal outcome. Do you want an explanation, or simply someone to say “we’re sorry”? If your complaint is against an individual, do you want disciplinary action taken against them? Be clear in your complaint about what you want to achieve.

Make notes

Before complaining, make a note of all relevant events. Depending upon the nature of your illness or injury, this may be difficult, but – as far as you can – try to record dates, times, names and details of relevant conversations.

If you have any witnesses to your treatment or care, make sure that you include their contact details.

Decide how you’ll complain

Think about how you’re going to make your complaint. Are you going to complain verbally, or in writing?

If you plan to complain in writing, you may find our template complaint letters useful.

Stick to the facts

When it comes to making your complaint, it’s important that you focus on the main issues. Keep it factual, to-the-point and leave out anything which isn’t relevant to your care or treatment. You should also keep a copy of your letter and a note of when you sent it as part of your audit trail.

Taking action

If you’re unhappy with the NHS care or treatment you’ve received, you have the right to complain. You also have the right to have your complaint investigated and be given a full and prompt reply.

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