Advice, compliments and complaints

Everyone has the right, under the NHS constitution to provide feedback, comments or to make a complaint about health services. Telling us your views, whether it be a comment, compliment or a complaint, helps us to know what we are doing well, learn lessons from mistakes, and prevent them happening to anyone else.

It’s really valuable when you leave feedback about your experience of health care services.

This helps us, and our providers, to ensure that you are receiving a quality service and helps us to improve the care that patients receive in the future.

You can leave feedback by reviewing a service on the NHS Choices website. Simply search for the provider and click ‘Leave review’. This is an open website, so other people will be able to see your feedback. If you have a complaint, or you need to leave any personal information, you should contact the relevant Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

You can make a complaint in writing, by email, over the telephone or in person. Your complaint should be made as soon as possible.  This should be within a year of the event. You can make a complaint on your own or on behalf of someone else if you have their permission.

Full details of how to make a complaint can be found here.

This depends on which NHS service you want to complain about:

NHS North East London is the organisation that pays for the NHS service or care you received. If you are unhappy with the service provided, all NHS services have their own complaints teams who you can contact. To resolve matters quickly, you should raise concerns with the healthcare provider directly.

Complaints about GPs, dentists, pharmacies, opticians and specialist commissioning services:

From 1 July 2023 the way members of the public make a complaint about primary care services (GPs, dentists, opticians or pharmacy services) to the commissioner is changing.  

There are two ways you can make a complaint: 

  • You can complain to the healthcare provider: this is the organisation where you received the NHS service, for example a GP surgery or dental surgery.   
  • You can complain to the commissioner of the service: this is the organisation that paid for the service or care you received. 

After 1 July 2023 if you want to make a complaint about primary care services to the commissioner you will now contact NHS North East London integrated care board instead of NHS England. 

You can do this by: 

Telephone: 020 8221 5750

E-mail: nelondonicb.complaints@nhs.net 

Writing to us at: 
Complaints Department
NHS North East London
4th Floor – Unex Tower
5 Station Street
London E15 1DA  

If you want to make a complaint directly to the provider of the primary care service, you still can – that does not change on the 1 July 2023. 

If you have any queries, please contact nelondonicb.complaints@nhs.net.  

Hospitals, mental health and community services:

All services providing NHS care have a way of receiving comments and complaints about their services. If you have a comment or complaint about a hospital, mental health, community or other NHS service, you need to raise this through that organisation’s comments and complaints system. If you want us to know about your comment or complaint, please send a copy of your letter or comments to us. The responsibility for investigating any issue arising from a complaint remains with the organisation that provided the service to you.

Please do be aware that if you have already complained to your healthcare provider, we will not be able to re-investigate the same concerns.  If you wish to escalate your complaint regarding the provider, please contact the Health Service Ombudsman (see below).

Please click on the relevant link below to see their contact details:

North East London NHS 111 service:

London Ambulance Service runs the NHS 111 Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Service for Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

For any feedback or complaints please contact LAS using the following details:

Phone: 020 3069 0240
Email: patient.experiences@lond-amb.nhs.uk
Address: London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Patient Experiences Department, Units 1&2 Datapoint Business Centre, 6 South Crescent London E16 4TL

Please do be aware that if you have already complained to your healthcare provider, we will not be able to re-investigate the same concerns.  If you wish to escalate your complaint regarding the provider, please contact the Health Service Ombudsman (for more information please read the section – What if I am not fully satisfied?)

NHS North East London

If you have any comment or complaint regarding the commissioning of a service and you live in or received your care in the following areas : 

Barking and Dagenham, City and Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest please contact the team at:

nelondonicb.complaints@nhs.net.

You can also contact us on the following number 0208 221 5750 – please leave a message, with a contact number and we will call you back.

If you feel that you need support to raise your concern or complaint with us, you can seek support as follows:

Barking and Dagenham:

An organisation called Cambridge House can provide you with independent advocacy. You can contact them by calling 020 7358 7007 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm) or emailing chadvocacy@ch1889.org

City of London, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest:

An organisation called POhWER can provide you with free support and advocacy. You can contact their Help Hub Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm by:

  • Email: pohwer@pohwer.net 
  • Telephone: 0300 456 2370 (charged at your standard network rate)
  • Text: send the word ’pohwer’ with your name and number to 81025

Hackney:

The Hackney advocacy service provides advocacy support. Contact them by calling 0300 7900 559, emailing  Hackneyadvocacy@rethink.org or making an online referral.

Havering:

Mind provides a free Integrated Advocacy Service for Havering residents. You can contact them by phone 01708 560 660 / 020 7510 1081 or email Havering.advocacy@mindthnr.org.uk

Newham:

Newham Healthwatch provides an NHS Complaints Advocacy Service. It is a free and independent service for Newham residents that can help you make a complaint about an NHS service. 

The service is delivered by Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham on behalf of Healthwatch Newham. You can contact them by phone 020 3828 8245 or email advocacy@healthwatchnewham.co.uk 

VoiceAbility also provide free advocacy services in Newham. You can contact them by phone 0300 303 1660 (open Monday to Friday: 9am-5pm) or email helpline@voiceability.org

Redbridge:

An organisation called VoiceAbility can provide you with free and independent support and advocacy. You can contact their helpline number on: 0300 303 1660 (open Monday to Friday: 9am-5pm) or email helpline@voiceability.org

We are currently responding to a large volume of complaints, which is leading to a delay in being able to respond as quickly as we would like.

We would like to apologise for any delay or inconvenience you may experience and thank you for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate your patience whilst waiting for a final response as we understand how difficult it can be to raise a complaint and appreciate that any delay may cause anxiety.

Our aim is to investigate concerns and enquiries and provide a response within 40 working days of receipt. However, in July 2023, NHS North East London Integrated Care Board (ICB) became responsible for investigating complaints about primary care services, including GP, dental, optometry and pharmacy services. Since then, there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of complaints leading to a significant delay in us responding.

We are changing the way we work to address these delays and to reduce the number of people waiting for a response. However, in this current situation, both formal acknowledgements and full responses for complaints and enquiries are taking longer than we would like. Once we work through the current backlog, we hope to return to providing responses within the 40 working day timeframe.

Complainants will be contacted by the allocated case worker to inform them how the complaint/enquiry is going to be handled and any progress made so far.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we seek to respond to all the complaints we receive in a timely way.

Once we have received your complaint, an investigation will start. We will try and resolve all complaints at the earliest opportunity.

If we need a greater understanding of what you are complaining about, the investigator may contact you to discuss your complaint in more detail and agree a date in which we will respond by.

Once the investigation is complete, any necessary action identified will be taken to ensure the incident does not happen again.

Your right to confidentiality will be respected throughout the investigation however we may need to share information regarding your case with a third party within the NHS.  We will require your consent in order to do this. It may therefore, be useful when making your complaint to include your consent.

There may be times when we need to share information without your consent, for example to protect children and vulnerable adults.

Below are two examples of how you could provide consent. The first is for NHS North East London Integrated Care Board to share your complaint if we need to liaise with other NHS organisations

The second is when a complaint is made on behalf of someone else. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we will need their written or verbal consent to proceed with the complaint. 

  1. In order to allow you to fully investigate my complaint, I understand you may need to contact other services within the NHS and I hereby give you my consent to do so. [insert name, address/date of birth/telephone or mobile number, email address]
  2. In order to allow you to fully investigate the complaint raised on my behalf, I hereby give you my consent to do so. [insert name, address/date of birth/telephone or mobile number, relationship with complainant]

If you are unhappy with the response to your complaint, you should contact the service directly to see if they can look into the case further. You also have the right to take your complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is independent of both the NHS and the Government and will decide if your complaint should be investigated further. The service is free for everyone. To take a complaint to the Ombudsman, go to www.ombudsman.org.uk/making-complaint  or call 0345 015 4033. You will need to contact the Ombudsman within 12 months of receiving a final response. You can find out more information on the Ombudsman’s website www.ombudsman.org.uk

You can contact their helpline on 0345 015 4033 or phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk

You can write to the Ombudsman at: The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP

As you know, the NHS is facing significant challenges due to Covid-19. NHS staff are working hard to maintain high quality care in hospitals, GP surgeries and other services. All NHS staff are focusing on patient care and supporting front line staff to deal with this emergency.

This will mean that there will be delays to responding to your complaint. This is because we need clinical and other staff to review your complaint and contribute to the investigation and they are currently supporting the NHS to respond to this virus.

We will try to respond to as many complaints as we can where we receive the clinical input required.

As NHS services respond to the impact of Covid-19, some of them may not be able to take calls regarding your complaint but you can contact them via email.

Further information can be found on the NHS England’s website: england.nhs.uk/contact-us/complaint/complaining-to-nhse/information-for-public-frequently-asked-questions/