This information is for people who wish to make a complaint about NHS treatment or services. It tells you what to do before you make a complaint, who to go to if you would like to make a complaint and what will happen once you have complained.
How do I raise a concern?
Most concerns can usually be sorted out straight away by the staff caring for you or your relative or friend. Tell them what is worrying you and they will do their best to help you. Ask to speak to the professional in charge of your care (or the care of your relative or friend), or a senior member of staff as they will want to help.
If you want to talk to someone not directly involved in your care or the care of your relative or friend, you can speak to someone in your PALS Team. Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is a confidential service available to support patients, carers and relatives.
Please contact PALS if you need advice or information about how to raise a concern or make a complaint. They will listen closely to what you have to say and will try to resolve any problems quickly and satisfactorily by liaising with staff.
What should I do if I am still not happy and want to make a complaint?
If you want to make a complaint, it is important that you try to do so within 12 months of the event. We may not apply this time limit if there is a genuine reason why the complaint could not be made sooner.
We must reply to complaints about services provided by members of staff working in our hospitals and clinics. If you are not sure whether you should make your complaint to us, contact PALS or phone the Complaints Team (020 8296 3092) and they will give you advice.
If other agencies were involved in the event you are complaining about, we will work with them as part of our investigation.
We understand that people sometimes worry that making a complaint could affect their care, so we have a process in place to make sure complaints are dealt with in a confidential and sensitive way that does not discriminate against anyone or affect their care.
Who do I contact?
You make a complaint in writing or by email.
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust
70 East Street
You can also phone our Complaints Team on 020 8296 3092.
When writing to or emailing us, don't forget to include:
- your full name and address;
- your phone number;
- your NHS number (if you know it); and
- as much information as you can about what happened, and where and when.
If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, please include your own name and address as well as the patient's. We will also need to have the patient's written permission to give you their personal information. So please include a signed statement from them confirming that they agree with the content of the complaint. If the patient cannot provide written permission for any reason, please contact us for advice.
What happens after I have made a complaint?
We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days.
We will make sure we fully understand your concerns and what you want to happen as a result of your complaint.
When we contact you about your complaint, we will offer to discuss how we can best settle or investigate your complaint. Sometimes complaints can be settled by us providing an explanation and apologising or taking action to put things rights.
Depending on the complexity of the issues, we will agree with you a reasonable timescale to look into and settle your complaint.
If you do not want to discuss your complaint with us, we will write to you and let you know how long it is likely to take to respond to your complaint.
What happens if the issue my complaint relates to needs to be investigated?
If we agree that we need to carry out an investigation, we will:
- appoint a complaints officer to investigate your concerns on behalf of the Chief Executive (they will work with the teams involved to try to settle your complaint quickly and effectively); and
- keep you informed of the progress of the investigation.
When we have finished the investigation we will write to you with our response. This response will include:
- a letter explaining how we have looked into your complaint;
- what conclusions we have reached;
- whether action needs to be taken, what action is needed and when it is likely to be taken;
- an offer of a meeting with relevant staff, if appropriate; and
- further information on what to do and who to contact if you are not satisfied with our response.
Sometimes an investigation can take longer than we first think. If this happens, we will contact you to discuss the reasons for the delay, update you on what is happening, and agree a new timescale for our response.
What if I am still unhappy?
We may suggest you meet the appropriate staff to discuss your complaint in person, or that we make further enquiries and write to you again.
If we still cannot settle your complaint, you can refer it to the Parliamentaty and Health Service Ombudsman (the Ombudsman).
Phone: 0345 015 4033
Address: Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP
Fax: 01670 511 260
There are futher details on their website at www.ombudsman.org.uk (opens in a new window).
What will the Ombudsman do?
The Ombudsman will consider whether we have done everything possible to deal with the issues you raised. The Ombudmsan will decide whether:
- we need to take further action;
- they should refer the matter back to us for us to investigate further; and
- they need to carry out a review of the case.
Can I get help with making a complaint?
You can get help to make a complaint from an advocacy service. They offer a free and confidential service that is independent of the NHS and tailored to your needs. Their staff can help you through the NHS complaints process.
If you live in the Surrey area you can contact:
Surrey Independent Living Council (ILC) (in partnership with Healthwatch Surrey)
Phone: 01483 310 500 (10am-4.30pm Mon-Fri excluding bank holidays).
Text: 07704 265 377
Website: Surrey ILC (opens in a new window) or Healthwatch Surrey (opens in a new window)
If you live in the Sutton area you can contact:
Advocacy for All
Phone: 0345 310 1812
Website: Healthwatch Sutton (opens in a new window)
If you live in the Merton are you can contact:
London N7 9DP
Helpline: 0300 330 5454
Textphone: 07860 0022939
What if I want compensation?
The NHS complaints procedure rarely results in compensation. If you want compensation, you will need to get legal advice.