Sofia Thomas
by on October 21, 2020

The NHS has a comprehensive complaints procedure which allows patients who believe they have received poor medical care to formally express their concerns.

Making a Complaint at the NHS

If you are unhappy about the standard of care you received at the NHS, you have the right to make a NHS Claim. The first step should be to make an informal complaint by speaking directly to the medical professional or management responsible for the care or treatment your received. You can lodge a formal complaint if this is unsuccessful.

Making an Informal Complaint – What is PALS?

A Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is typically the first port of call when it comes to making an informal complaint about an NHS service. PALS is usually based in the local hospital where you received treatment and offer confidential advice and support. If they cannot resolve the issue, they will advice you on the process involved in lodging a formal complaint.

Making a Formal Complaint

If you are still dissatisfied or PALS cannot help with your concern, you can make a formal complaint. Every NHS service has a comprehensive complaints procedure, which can be found in the building where you received the medical care. You can also find details online or from members of staff. A formal complaint can be made verbally (speaking to the NHS service responsible for your care), in writing or via an email. But if your complaint is about primary care services, contact NHS England.

Who Can Make a Complaint?

Anyone who has been affected by negligent treatment while under NHS care can make an official complaint about the NHS. This also includes patients who received treatment in private hospitals funded by the NHS. You can make a claim against the NHS on behalf of a patient who has suffered injury due to Medical Negligence, so long as you have the patient’s consent.

What Can I Complain About?

An NHS complaint can be made based on a broad range of reasons. Some of the main complaints include:

  • Incorrect diagnosis/treatment
  • Delayed diagnosis/treatment
  • Misconduct of an NHS staff
  • Failed medical equipment
  • Discrimination and confidentiality issues
  • Negligence leading to injury

What Happens After You Have Made a Complaint?

The NHS Complaints Procedure Compensation typically requires an acknowledgement of a complaint to be made within 14 days, but you will usually receive the acknowledgement within 3 days. The amount of time taken to respond to your complaint will largely depend on the nature of your concern and the investigations required to provide a comprehensive response. The letter of acknowledgement will indicate how long it will take for investigation to be made into your concern and when you can expect an outcome.

Making a Compensation Claim After a Complaint

If the NHS admits liability after investigating your complaint, you may be entitled to a compensation claim. For a successful medical negligence claims, you must be able to prove that there was a breach of duty (the medical professional is liable) and causation (you suffered harm as a direct result of the medical professional’s actions). Thus, making a complaint can be very useful if you are considering starting a claim. Even if you do not receive any apologies or no admission of liability is made, a complaint can help your Medical Negligence Solicitors when evaluating different aspects of your case.

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