Information about how to make an NHS formal complaint

People wanting to complain about NHS services have several different avenues to take though the standard two-stage NHS complaints procedure is the main route in for most people.


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The two stages are firstly local resolution followed by the Health Service Ombudsman.

The outcomes vary according to the issues involved in each case but range from an apology, disciplinary action, changes in policy or clarification of the law. In many cases victims of negligence may be able to claim compensation.

However, this is not the only route available to people with particular grievances. For some, who simply want an apology, the standard route is sufficient, but others, who perhaps feel that a particular medical professional was at fault and want to take this further may well go through the relevant professional body. Others may opt for a judicial review when looking for clarification of the law. Those taking the matter further in considering legal action should take professional legal advice.

Other separate procedures are relevant for complaints in particular circumstances, such as where there are concerns over treatment under the Mental Health Act or where a particular drug or treatment is being refused by the NHS.