How do I make a formal complaint about medical treatment?
If you are not happy with the medical treatment that has been provided to you or a member of your family, you are legally entitled to have your concerns investigated and to receive a full response from the healthcare provider.
Before commencing a medical negligence claim, we would advise that you make a formal complaint to your healthcare provider under the NHS Complaints Procedure. This covers all NHS Trusts and bodies, health services provided for the NHS such as GPs, dentists, opticians and pharmacists, as well as private health care bodies if the NHS has paid for the treatment.
To makes things as simple as possible, we have a template already created for you to download here Medical Negligence Complaint Letter (Word)
What to expect from your healthcare provider
Once your healthcare provider has received your complaint, they must acknowledge your complaint no later than three working days after receipt. The acknowledgement will confirm how the complaint will be investigated and advise you of an estimate time period within which you can expect to receive a response.
You may be invited to attend a meeting to discuss your complaint. It is entirely your choice as to whether you wish to attend this meeting and it will not have any detrimental effect on a claim going forward either way. It is important, however, that you ensure that notes are taken of the meeting so that it is recorded for our review. Once the investigation is complete, you should receive a formal written response.
Please bear in mind that as their investigation will involve reviewing medical records and consulting the relevant healthcare professionals involved, this can take some time – possibly longer than initially specified. In this situation, it is a good idea to keep in regular contact with them so that you can be updated on the progress of the investigation. Remember, you are entitled to regular updates so feel free to ask for these as and when you need to.
What to do when you receive your response
When you have received the response to your complaint, please contact us to discuss your thoughts on the same. We will arrange to obtain a copy of your documents and carry out a full review of your potential claim with a view to advising you further on how to take the matter forward.
If you are not satisfied with the response received, you are entitled to seek an Independent Review by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Again, this must be done within 12 months of the event(s) in question but if that is not possible, you may ask the Ombudsman to consider your request if you have a good reason for the delay.
If you have any questions about making a complaint, we are just a phone call away and more than happy to provide any advice and support you may need. Please call us on 0808 231 6075.
Alternatively, there are other sources of help which you may utilise: –
- Local NHS Complaints Advocacy service – see www.gov.uk/findyourlocalcouncil for information about how this service is provided in your area.
- Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) – this is a service provided by individual hospitals to facilitate the resolution of less serious complaints informally, for example, regarding ongoing hospital treatment or discharge arrangements, etc.
- Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Patient Liaison teams – see www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Clinical-Commissioning -Group/LocationSearch/1 for the relevant CCG in your area.
- Local Healthwatch – see www.healthwatch.co.uk/find-local-healthwatch
- The Care Quality Commission (CQC) – Although they do not have powers to investigate complaints, they do invite feedback from the public about GPs and hospitals and can use that information when looking at individual services. This could therefore improve the services offered.