GP and NHS complaints procedure

NHS Complaints

Learn more about what circumstances may warrant a complaint or alternatively a compensation claim. We will advise you how to make your complaint and what you should expect from the complaints process.

Complaint or Compensation - What are your options?

Broken arm being held by medical staff

If you have received a poor standard of care following treatment on the NHS - you may feel strongly enough to make a complaint about your experience. You may even believe that you should be entitled to claim NHS compensation for your trauma. In many cases you might be right. The NHS Constitution gives you the right to complain.

Make a enquiry


You should make a NHS Negligence claim if:

  • You have suffered injury or harm as a result of negligence.
  • Your condition / disease / injury has deteriorated due to a lack of care or skill.
  • You have suffered "detriment" in some way because of poor care.

You should make a NHS complaint if:

  • You have received poor service from a GP or hospital.
  • If doctors or staff have been rude and shown a lack of courtesy.
  • If you have been refused treatment or thrown out of a practice unfairly.
  • You have encountered longer than expected waiting times for treatment.
  • You believe a doctor or certain staff may be a danger to the public.

There are many more general situations which may warrant a complaint, but the above list represents the most common medical malpractice issues that we generally encounter.

Please Note

some situations by their very nature, may be serious enough to warrant a compensation claim. Delayed treatment may be one such situation.

Key questions and answers

Key questions and answers

Q. What are the time frames for making a complaint?
A.

Ideally you should make your complaint preferably in writing as soon as possible after the matter you are complaining about happened. The time limit for complaints is usually:

  • Twelve months from the date this happened, or
  • twelve months from the date that you first became aware of it.
Q. Who can make a formal complaint to the NHS?
A.

A NHS complaint can be made by a patient, a patients representative or family member providing they have their consent if able to do so.

Q. How do you pay your costs if you decide to pursue your case against a GP, the NHS or other medical practitioner?
A.

You may be entitled to a "no win no fee" agreement. You may have legal expense insurance (most household policies have this cover).  In certain cases you may wish to privately fund your action.

Q. Do you need to complain before considering a claim?
A.

Ideally you should make a complaint about your situation to the treating practice, hospital or NHS Trust - as soon as possible. Generally speaking the NHS complaint procedures stipulate that a complaint must be brought within 6 months of you / your family being aware there was or is a problem. It is possible to make a claim at the same time as lodging a formal complaint - we may be able to help you with both.

Please be aware that circumstances justifying a complaint (which can be numerous) do not necessarily merit pursuing a legal claim.

Q. How do you start a claim for medical negligence?
A.

The first step is to speak to a firm of no win no fee lawyers who specialise in medical claims. We can help provide advice in many cases although  we must stress that we cannot deal with every complaint or possible claim.

Make a no obligation enquiry today.

All communications are strictly confidential and rest assured that as a regulated law firm we do not share your data with any third parties

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Patients now have more time to complain and the NHS has more accountability which is a step in the right direction:
  • You are entitled to have your complaint dealt with efficiently and it should be properly investigated.
  • You are entitled to hear the outcome of the complaint and investigation.
  • You may be entitled to compensation if you have been harmed.

You can take your case to the Independent Parliamentary and Health Service  Ombudsman if you are not satisfied with the NHS handling of your complaint.

You can make a claim for a Judicial Review if you think you have been affected by an unlawful act or decision by the NHS.

More about the new NHS Complaints Procedures introduced in April 2009.

If you make a complaint within 12 months of the relevant event/poor service/advice then you have the right to have your case investigated, and be given a full and prompt response. The NHS Constitution explains your rights when it comes to making a complaint.

There are two key stages to the complaints process:

Ask your hospital or trust for a copy of its complaints procedure, which will explain how to proceed. Then the process will follow two stages.

  1. Firstly you should refer the case in writing to the local medical professional or organisation management team. This is called local resolution, and most cases are resolved at this stage.
  2. If you're still unhappy, you can refer the matter to the Health Ombudsman (Independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman) who is independent of the NHS and government. You can contact them directly on 0345 015 4033.

Who can complain?


A NHS complaint can be made by a patient or someone acting on behalf of the patient or person, with their consent.

Call our specialists on 0800 023 8845 for free informal advice on the merits of your case. We'll then discuss how any NHS Negligence claim should proceed and your funding options.

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