Complaints

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.

What you should do before making a complaint

You should always talk to your doctor, nurse or health professional about any concerns you may have about the treatment or service you have received.

Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) may also be able to help you. They provide on the spot advice, support and assistance to patients. 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.

Our PALS Team can also advise of the other options available to you.

Who can complain?

Anyone who is receiving or has received NHS treatment or services can complain. You can complain for yourself or on behalf of someone else. If you complain on behalf of a friend or relative, we may need their consent in order to respond to your complaint. Further advice is available from our Complaints team.

When should you complain?

It is always best to make your complaint as soon as possible and not more than 12 months after the incident. The time limit may sometimes be waived if there is a genuine reason why you could not make a complaint sooner. We deal with all complaints about any service we provide, including those on other sites.

What we need to know about your complaint

You can phone us or write a letter of complaint, giving us as much information as possible about what, where and when the issue you are complaining about occired (please see the example letter below). Don't forget to include your full name, address, telephone number, date of birth and your hospital number, should you know it. Wherever possible, you should give the name and job title of any member of staff involved in the complaint.

Please indicate how you would like your complaint to be resolved:

  • By having a meeting
  • By a written response
  • The outcome you hope for.

Who to send your complaint to

You can send your letter to the Chief Executive or the Complaints Team, they will make sure your complaint is acknowledged and investigated.

Complaints Department
St Helier Hospital
Wrythe Lane
Carshalton
Surrey SM5 1AA

Please make sure you enclose written consent if you are complaining on behalf of someone else. You should keep a copy of your letter.

You can email your complaint to esth.complaints@nhs.net or you can contact the Complaints Team on 020 8296 3092 or 020 8296 3091. They can take the details of your complaint or arrange for an appropriate person to contact you to address and resolve your concerns.

We will acknowledge receipt within three working days of receiving of your complaintsatisfaction and we will be in touch to discuss and agree the approach.

Help and advice

You may find that you need some extra support to make your complaint or that you’d benefit from  independent support and if so you can contact your local independent complaints advocacy service:

If you live in the Surrey area you can contact:

Healthwatch Surrey

Tel: 0300 030 733
Text: 07561 392818
Email: advocacy@sdpp.org.uk
Website: www.healthwatchsurrey.co.uk/nhs-complaints-advocacy.

If you live in the Sutton are you can contact:

Healthwatch Complaints Advocacy Service

Tel: 0845 8320044
Website: www.healthwatchsutton.org.uk/complaints-advocacy

If you live in the Merton are you can contact:

Voiceability

United House
North Road
London N7 9DP

Helpline: 0300 330 5454
Textphone: 07860 0022939
Email: nhscomplaints@voiceability.org 

Further information

For more information about making a complaint please speak to our complaints department. You can also read our complaints procedure below.

Complaints procedure

It's important to tell us early if you are unhappy with your care or treatment, so that we can put it right. Our aim is to do whatever we can to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction.

All NHS trusts have a complaints manager who has overall responsibility for handling and considering complaints. Our complaints manager is Nasreen Sheik-Panchoo. You can email your complaint to esth.complaints@nhs.net or call the complaints office on 020 8296 3092.

We will always aim to resolve matters. We will investigate the issues you have raised and review the outcome of that investigation.

If we feel that urgent action is needed based on what you have said in your letter, then this will be taken without delay to:

  • Sort out problems quickly on your behalf
  • Listen to your concerns, suggestions and queries.

Your future care

Your care and the way our staff communicate with you should never be affected because you have made a complaint. Please let us know if you feel this has happened so that we can conduct a separate investigation.

The process

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days after the date it is received. This acknowledgement will usually be in writing, but we may also give you a call as each complaint is individual and each case is assessed as we receive it. We are always keen to resolve matters as soon as we can in a way that resolves your complaint.

There are no national timescales for responding to complaints and some complaints will take longer to investigate than others. The most important fact is that we must undertake a robust investigation. We grade all of our complaints and this helps us set a realistic timescale for each complaint. We will let you know how long we think we need to respond to your complaint and we aim to respond within this timescale in 90% of cases. More information about our performance for handling complaints can be found here

It is important that we share the outcome of our investigation in the way that you would wish, and there are a number of other ways in which you may prefer your concerns to be addressed. For example, you may wish to discuss the option of talking to relevant nursing and clinical staff with the aim of addressing your complaint at a meeting.

During our investigation, we will keep you informed on our progress. On completion of our investigation - if we have agreed to send you a written response - we will explain how we have dealt with your complaint, the conclusions reached and any actions taken.

If there are any delays in our investigation we will contact you to explain why and agree with you when you can expect to receive a response. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your complaint do not hesitate to contact us on 020 8296 3091.

Investigation: what is it and why?

We want to understand the facts of what has happened so that we can offer you a detailed explanation and clearly identify where we can make improvements. To do this wee send your letter to all of the departments and wards relevant to your complaint and share your letter with anyone who is mentioned in it, as well as appropriate senior staff. We ask for their views on the issues and an explanation of what happened.

We ask for written reports and ask the senior managers  to state what action will be taken to avoid the problem happening again.

In some cases, we will call you to ask for more information. If the problem is complicated we may call you to ask if you would like to meet with us at this stage. Meetings like this can be very helpful in resolving problems, and we always encourage people to bring friends, relatives and/or advocates with them if they wish.

When all of the written information has been received, it is collated and a letter of response is drafted. The letter is agreed and signed by the Chief Executive if he is happy with the content of the response.

If you’re not satisfied with our response

We constantly strive to improve the way we respond to complaints and want to get our response to you right first time. However if you feel we have not done this please let us know by telephoning or writing and if you would like to meet to discuss your continued concerns we will be pleased to arrange this.

We will do all we can to help resolve any continued concerns and we will work with you to find the best way to do this. We may agree with you that the best way to resolve you complaint will be for us to request an independent review and if this is the case we will discuss this process with you.

With your agreement, we could organise for an independent conciliator or mediator to try to resolve matters.

Help and advice

You may find that you need some extra support to make your complaint or that you’d benefit from  independent support and if so you can contact your local independent complaints advocacy service:

If you live in the Surrey area you can contact:

Healthwatch Surrey

Tel: 0300 030 733
Text: 07561 392818
Email: advocacy@sdpp.org.uk
Website: www.healthwatchsurrey.co.uk/nhs-complaints-advocacy.

If you live in the Sutton are you can contact:

Healthwatch Complaints Advocacy Service

Tel: 0845 8320044
Website: www.healthwatchsutton.org.uk/complaints-advocacy

If you live in the Merton are you can contact:

Voiceability

United House
North Road
London N7 9DP

Helpline: 0300 330 5454
Textphone: 07860 0022939
Email: nhscomplaints@voiceability.org 

If you’re not happy with the outcome of the complaint

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the local resolution process you are entitled to go to the second stage of the NHS complaints procedure: you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to independently review your case. This should normally be done within 12 months of the day on which you first became aware of the matters you complain about.

Emphasis is placed in the NHS Complaints Procedure on resolving complaints at a local level. We will, therefore, always suggest that all possible local action is taken before you approach the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. If you raise new issues when contacting the Ombudsman they will refer these back to us for investigation.

The Ombudsman is completely independent of the NHS and Government. You can contact the Ombudsman at:

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Millbank Tower
Millbank
London
SW1P 4QP

Tel: 0345 015 4033
Email: phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk 
or visit the Ombudsman's website (opens in a new window)

Recording patient ethnicity

We have a duty to record patient ethnicity for each complaint. This is to comply with the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. We record this information to help us monitor trends. For example, it is useful for us to know whether there are certain services in which similar problems keep re-occurring, and whether this is affecting any particular sections of the community.

You are under no obligation to provide this information. However, it would be very useful, and will be treated in the strictest confidence. Find out more about patient confidentiality.

Confidentiality

If your complaint is on behalf of someone else, we are legally requiredto receive that person's written consent in order to respond to you. If the patient is unable to provide their consent we will need the consent of their next of kin.

More information

 
Speech bubbles

Complaints department

Complaints department
St Helier Hospital
Wrythe Lane
Carshalton
Surrey SM5 1AA

Tel
020 8296 3092

Email
esth.complaints@nhs.net

Get connected

  • Like us on Facebook 
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Follow us on Linkedin 
  • Reviews on NHS Choices
  • Watch our videos

 

  • Like us on facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter 
  • Follow us on LinkedIn
  • Review on NHS Choices
  • Watch our videos

NHS image placement

Healthy Workplace Achievement Award 2016 NHS Choices