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The NHS has a set process for making complaints and in this video, we will state exactly what they say as many people completing this course are in the health sectors. By knowing the NHS process, you will have an understanding of a typical process that may be in your workplace. There are two stages of the NHS policy. These are as follows.

Stage one: Making a complaint

If you don't feel like you can solve issues informally then you should make a formal complaint to your service providers such as your GP, dentist, hospital or pharmacist. If you cannot make a complaint yourself, then you can ask someone else to do it for you.

Every NHS organisation has a complaints procedure. To find out about it, ask a member of staff, look at the hospital or trust's website, or contact the complaints department for more information.

However, if you feel too uncomfortable to complain to the service provider directly then you can make a complaint to the commissioner of the services instead.

If you have already complained to your service provider then the commissioner will not be able to reinvestigate the same concerns. In this case, you should proceed to stage two of the complaints process which we will look at shortly.

NHS England is responsible for purchasing primary care services such as GPs, dentists, pharmacists, optical services and some specialised services, and you should contact them if you wish to complain about any of these services. When you contact NHS England via email make sure you state ‘For the attention of the complaints manager’ in the subject line.

You should provide as much information as possible to allow NHS England to investigate your complaint, such as:
• your name and contact details
• a clear description of your complaint and any relevant times and dates
• details of any relevant healthcare providers or services
• Any relevant correspondence, if applicable

You should complain as soon as possible. Complaints should normally be made within 12 months of the date of the event that you're complaining about, or as soon as the matter first came to your attention.

The time limit can sometimes be extended (so long as it's still possible to investigate the complaint). An extension might be possible, for instance in situations where it would have been difficult for you to complain earlier, for example, when you were grieving or undergoing trauma.

If you made your complaint to NHS England you will receive the findings of the investigation together with an appropriate apology and the changes or learning that have taken place as a result of the investigation.

Stage two: If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint you can refer the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who is independent of the NHS and government.

Include the following details in your complaint but you are best to also visit the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website for more detailed advice.

• Your name, address and telephone number
• Name and contact details of anyone helping you with the complain
• Name and contact details of the healthcare provider you wish to complain about
• The factual details of your complaint (listing the main events and when they happened)
• Why you think your previous complaint wasn’t resolved to your satisfaction, and how this has caused you an injustice
• Details of the complaints you've already made to the healthcare provider and the outcome of their investigations
• Copies of any relevant documents (it's usually helpful to number these and provide a list).

Keep copies of everything you post, and make a note of when you send it.