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Everyone has the right to decent healthcare; the National Health Service’s own constitution provides assurance that anyone who is not content with the standard of care that they have received has the right to complain, the right to have that complaint investigated properly, the right to have the complaint acknowledged within three working days, and the right to hear the outcome of any complaint.

Who do you complain to?

In most cases the easiest way to start the complaint procedure is at an informal level with a discussion with doctor, or their surgery or Hospital. All GP surgeries and hospitals have a complaints procedure that will be made available to you. However if you feel that the care you received whilst under the responsibility of a surgeon, or any other medical professional with whom you do not have an ongoing relationship, your best course of action is to complain directly to the GMC; the General Medical Council.

What can you complain about?

Here are some examples of the types of cases where the GMC may need to act:

  • Failure to examine a patient properly or to respond reasonably to a patient’s needs
  • Serious or repeated mistakes in carrying out medical procedures or in diagnosis, such as prescribing drugs in a dangerous way
  • Serious concerns about knowledge of the English language
  • Serious breaches of a patient’s confidentiality
  • Fraud or dishonesty
  • Any serious criminal offence

If you think a doctor has committed a criminal offence, you should contact the police as well as the GMC.

If you are not happy with the way the procedure was carried out, or if you have concerns about any other area of your treatment you can also contact the NHS Advocacy team, Health-watch, or the Citizens Advice Bureau for impartial advice as to whether a formal complaint would be the most appropriate course of action.

How can you complain?

If your complaint cannot be dealt with at an informal level, the best step to take is to make a formal, written complaint. This must include the following information:

  • What happened and when
  • What or who you’re complaining about
  • What you’d like to be done to resolve your complaint
  • How to contact you

This complaint should be sent or made to the premises where the procedure or treatment took place; for example the hospital, GP surgery or treatment centre. Note: You should make a copy of the written complaint before you send it.

If you’re unsure, contact one of our highly experienced solicitors today, for a free, no obligations discussion about your concern.