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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Hampshire

Guidance if you need to make a complaint about an NHS service

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

Making a complaint can feel scary and daunting, and you might be wondering if it's worth the time and effort. However, if you have problems with an NHS service you need to resolve these to get the care you need.

Resources to help you make a complaint

We know that making a complaint about NHS services can be confusing. Below you will find a range of information to support you if you need to make a complaint.

Please note that:

  • We do not ourselves have powers to investigate individual formal complaints about NHS services.

  • We cannot make a complaint to a service on your behalf.

  • We are not able to offer financial or legal advice. That should always be sought from a trained specialist such as a solicitor or financial advisor.

I would like to make a complaint about an NHS Service

Healthwatch Hampshire are not responsible for investigating individual complaints.

If you are not happy with the care or treatment you have received by an NHS Service, then you have the right to make a complaint. It is advisable to first talk to the people who run the service itself, explain your issue and see if you can reach a satisfactory resolution.

For example, if you want to make a complaint about your GP, you may want to speak directly with your practice manager first, and hopefully the issue can be resolved quickly. Likewise, if you wanted to make a complaint about a hospital or community service you can first contact your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) which is a free, confidential and independent service that offers confidential advice and support. If after raising your concerns, you feel that the situation remains unresolved. You may decide you want to raise a formal complaint about the service.

To do this you need to find out who is responsible for the service, they are called its ‘commissioners’. In the example of GP Services, NHS England is responsible for commissioning your doctor, so they would be who you needed to speak too if you wish to take the issue further. Find out who is responsible for the service you'd like to complain about here.

Online Resources

Find out more about making a complaint and get information on the complaints process by can visiting the NHS Website or the Healthwatch England website.

Guidance, Advocacy and Support making an NHS complaint

Making a complaint can seem complicated and daunting, but there are organisations who have the expertise to help you with the process.

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is a free, confidential and independent service that you find in most hospitals. The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters, including the NHS complaints procedure. Contact your nearest PALS here.

Voiceability is a local organisation that can provide free, independent support and assistance about NHS complaints. You can contact them on 0300 303 1660 or email: You can find out more about how they can help by visiting their website here. 

Citizens Advice offer information and advice on a wide range of health and social care issues. You can contact them by email, telephone or visit your local office for in person advice. Find out more here.

Other ways to raise issues concerning an NHS or Social Care service.

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