How to complain about NHS care
I was very happy with the effect that making my complaint has had. I feel more confident about speaking up for myself.
You can get free information and support from us to help you use the NHS complaints process.
NHS complaints self-help toolkit
Below you’ll find information to help you make your complaint yourself.
Who can support me with making a complaint?
Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS)
You’ll find a Patient Advice and Liaison Service in most hospitals. Sometimes it’s called ‘PILS’ instead, or just ‘the complaints team’. PALS is a service set up by the NHS that can help you resolve issues informally with the hospital. A complaint made through PALS will not usually count as a ‘formal complaint’.
Contacting PALS can be particularly helpful if your issue is urgent and you need action immediately, such as a problem with the treatment or care you receive while in hospital.
As well as helping people raise concerns, PALS teams also:
- offer information and advice about local health services
- feed back patients’ views to senior managers
To find the contact details for your local PALS, ask your hospital or search online for ‘NHS PALS’.
Anyone who wants to complain about the NHS has the right to support from an advocate.
An advocate can help you to:
- work out what you want to complain about and the outcome you’re looking for
- write your own complaint letter and send it to the right people
- understand the response you get and what to do next
An advocate will support you to do as much as you can for yourself. They cannot make a complaint on your behalf or give you legal or medical advice. Advocates can sometimes attend complaints resolution meetings with you, if you find it difficult to say what you want.
VoiceAbility provides NHS Complaints advocacy in a range of locations in England.
If we don’t provide advocacy where you live, someone else will. You can find out who by searching for ‘NHS Complaints advocacy + your location’ online.