The NHS employs over a million staff in thousands of locations. It is a large and complex organisation providing a broad range of services. It is not surprising that sometimes you or a loved one may feel bewildered or concerned when using the NHS. And this can be at times when you are feeling at your most vulnerable and anxious.
So, what should you do if you want on the spot help when using the health service? The NHS expects all members of staff to listen and respond to you to the best of their ability. But sometimes, you may wish to talk to someone employed especially to help you. The Patient Advice and Liaison Service, known as PALS, has been introduced to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, and answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible.
PALS also helps the NHS to improve services by listening to what matters to patients and their loved ones and making changes, when appropriate.
What does PALS do?
In particular, PALS will:
- Provide you with information about the NHS and help you with any other health-related enquiry
- Help resolve concerns or problems when you are using the NHS
- Provide information about the NHS complaints procedure and how to get independent help if you decide you may want to make a complaint
- Provide you with information and help introduce you to agencies and support groups outside the NHS
- Inform you about how you can get more involved in your own healthcare and the NHS locally
- Improve the NHS by listening to your concerns, suggestions and experiences and ensuring that people who design and manage services are aware of the issues you raise
- Provide an early warning system for NHS Trusts and monitoring bodies by identifying problems or gaps in services and reporting them.
If you have a complaint or concern about the service you have received from the Doctors or any of the staff working in this Practice, please let us know. We operate a Practice complaints procedure as part of a National Health Service system for dealing with complaints. Our complaints system meets national criteria.
New regulations were introduced in 2009 as follows
The Regulations require practices to:
- Publicise our complaints procedures
- Acknowledge receipt of a complaint and offer to discuss the matter within three working days
- Deal efficiently with complaints and investigate them properly and appropriately
- Write to the complainant on completion of a complaint investigation explaining how it has been resolved, what appropriate action has been taken, and reminding them of their right to take the matter to the Health Services Ombudsman if they are still unhappy
- Assist the complainant in following the complaints procedure, or provide advice on where they may obtain such assistance
- Ensure there is a designated manager for complaints
- Have someone senior who is responsible for both the complaints policy and learning from complaints
- Produce an annual report about complaints that have been received, the issues they raise, and any matters where action has been taken or is to be taken to improve services as a result of those complaints.
People wishing to make complaints:
- Must do so within 12 months of an incident happening or of becoming aware of the matter complained about
- Can choose to complain to NHS England instead of the service provider
On the back of these regulations our policy/procedure is as follows;
Comments and Suggestions
We clearly always welcome compliments and share these with all staff when received. We also welcome any construction suggestions as to how we can improve any aspects of how service.
Please let us have these either via email, letter or in person at Reception. We also have a ‘Suggestions box’ in the main reception area with cards to complete and do feel free to use this as often as you wish!
We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and with the person concerned. If your problem cannot be sorted out in this way and you wish to make a complaint, we would like you to let us know as soon as possible – ideally within a matter of days or at most a few weeks – because this will enable us to establish what happened more easily. If it is not possible to do that, please let us have details of your complaint:
- Within twelve months of the incident that caused the problem
- After twelve months of the incident only if you could not have known about the issue within the initial twelve months
Complaints should be addressed to Joanne Swords, our Practice Manager who is responsible for handing all complaints. Alternatively, you may ask for an appointment with her in order to discuss your concerns. She will explain the complaints procedure to you and will make sure that your concerns are dealt with promptly. It will be a great help if you are as specific as possible about your complaint.
Under regulations introduced in April 2009 you can, if you prefer, or if you do not feel your complaint has been dealt with satisfactorily at Practice level you can either write directly to NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT, or telephone on 0300 311 22 33 (Mon to Fri 8am to 6pm, excluding English Bank Holidays), or electronically by using the Commissioning board’s email address email@example.com
What we shall do
We shall acknowledge your complaint within two working days and aim to have looked into your complaint within ten working days of the date when you raised it with us. We shall then be in a position to offer you an explanation, or a meeting with the people involved.
When we look into your complaint we shall aim to:
- Find out what happened and what went wrong
- Make it possible for you to discuss the problem with those concerned, if you would like this
- Make sure you receive an apology, where this is appropriate
- Identify what we can do to make sure the problem does not happen again.
Complaining on behalf of someone else
Please note that we keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have their permission to do so. A note signed by the person concerned will be needed, unless they are incapable (because of illness) of providing this.
Support with your complaint
If you require assistance in making your complaint to the Practice, an independent Complaints Advocacy Service is available for Nottinghamshire www.pohwer.net.
Their address is PO Box 14043, Birmingham B6 9BL, telephone number 0300 456 2370 and email address firstname.lastname@example.org
POhWER have a contract with with the NHS to help people who wish to bring a complaint about any part of the NHS
Complaining to the Health Services Ombudsman
If your complaint can not be satisfactorily resolved through the above process, you have the right to take the matter to the Health Services Ombudsman.
You can contact the Ombudsman by post at
The Parliamentary and Health service Ombudsman
by telephone on 0345 015 4033
or by email on
or see the website at