Complaints Procedure

Most problems can be sorted out quickly and easily with the person concerned, often at the time they arise, and this may be the approach you try first.

Where you are not able to resolve your complaint in this way and wish to make a formal complaint you should do so, preferably in writing as soon as possible after the event and ideally within a few days, giving as much detail as you can, as this helps us to establish what happened more easily. In any event, this should be:

  • Within 12 months of the incident
  • or within 12 months of you becoming aware of the matter

If you are a registered patient you can complain about your own care. You are not normally able to complain about someone else’s treatment without their written authority. 

We are able to provide you with a separate complaints form to register your complaint and this includes a third-party authority form to enable a complaint to be made by someone else. Please ask at reception for this. You can provide this in your own format providing it covers all of the necessary aspects. 


Send your written complaint to:

The Practice Manager
Primrose Hill Surgery
97-99 Regents Park Road


How to contact the Advice and Complaints Service:

You may also make your complaint directly to NHS England, who commissions our service:

By telephone: 03003 11 22 33 
By email:

By post: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT


What we do next

We aim to settle complaints as soon as possible.

We will usually acknowledge receipt within three working days, and aim to resolve the matter as soon as possible but will give you some idea of how long that may take at the outset. You will then receive a formal reply in writing, or you may be invited to meet with the person(s) concerned to attempt to resolve the issue. If the matter is likely to take longer than this we will let you know, and keep you informed as the investigation progresses.

When looking into a complaint, we attempt to see what happened and why, to see if there is something we can learn from this, and make it possible for you to discuss the issue with those involved if you wish to do so.  

When the investigations are complete, a final written response will be sent to you.

Where your complaint involves more than one organisation (e.g. social services) we will liaise with that organisation so that you receive one coordinated reply. We may need your consent to do this. Where your complaint has been initially sent to an incorrect organisation, we may seek your consent to forward this to the correct person to deal with.

The final response letter will include details of the result of your complaint and also your right to refer the matter further to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (details shown elsewhere in this leaflet) if you remain dissatisfied with the response.


Complaining on behalf of someone else

We keep to the strict rules of medical and personal confidentiality. If you wish to make a complaint and are not the patient involved, we will require the written consent of the patient to confirm that they are unhappy with their treatment and that we can deal with someone else about it. In the event the patient is deceased, then we may agree to respond to a family member or anyone acting on their behalf or who has had an interest in the welfare of the patient.

Please ask at reception for the Complaints Form or use the form attached at the bottom of this page, which contains a suitable authority for the patient to sign to enable the complaint to proceed. 

Alternatively, we will send one to you to return to us when we receive your initial written complaint.

Where the patient is incapable of providing consent due to illness, accident or mental capacity, it may still be possible to deal with the complaint. Please provide the precise details of the circumstances that prevent this in your covering letter.

Please note that we are unable to discuss any issue relating to someone else without their express permission, which must be in writing, unless the circumstances above apply.  You may also find that if you are complaining on behalf of a child who is capable of making their own complaint, we will expect that child to contact us themselves to lodge their complaint.

We may still need to correspond directly with the patient, or may be able to deal directly with the third party. This depends on the wording of the authority provided.


If you are dissatisfied with the outcome

You have the right to approach the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman. Their contact details are:

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Millbank Tower 30 Millbank London SW1P 4QP

Tel:   0345 0154033


You may also approach The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), Healthwatch or the Independent Health Complaints Advocacy for help or advice.


Primrose Hill Complaints Form


This process identifies Primrose Hill Surgery’s approach to the handling of complaints and is relevant to all employers and anyone who works at Primrose Hill Surgery, including non-clinical staff.

Individuals training and visitors/observers on the premises must also adhere to this.

Importance of having a complaints procedure

Staff at Primrose Hill Surgery recognise that, occasionally, things go wrong and patients can be left feeling unhappy with aspects of their care or treatment.

To reduce the anxiety and apprehension for both patients and staff we have a process for handling complaints.

How to make a complaint

  • If you are unhappy about the service or staff please tell us.
  • Complaints may be received in writing (by hand or electronically) or orally.
  • If you have a complaint or concern about the service that you have received from the doctors, nurses or any of the staff working at the Practice, please let us know.
  • Our complaints policy is in line with the NHS system for dealing with complaints and meets national criteria.
  • We aim to resolve complaints easily and quickly and in many cases we try to be proactive and solve any matters as they arise.

Time limit for making a complaint

Within 12 months of the event, or within 12 months of becoming aware that you have something to complain about.

People responsible for handling complaints

Complaints can be made in the first instance, either orally or in writing outlining your concerns to the Practice Manager.

The Complaints Manager assigned will be responsible for the handling and investigation of complaints.

Initial handling of complaints

  • The Complaints Manager acknowledges a written complaint in writing within 3 working days.

Investigation of complaint

  • The Complaints Manager will discuss the complaint with the staff about which the complaint is relating, to establish their recollection of events.
  • Where the complaint is against a Doctor or nurse or is around clinical care, the Practice Manager and a Clinician not involved in your complaint will investigate the concerns you have raised.
  • During any meetings you have the right to have another person, an advocate present. This person can be anyone of your choosing with the exception of a solicitor engaged for a fee.
  • Minutes should be taken and a summary of the meeting should be sent in writing to the complainant asap.
  • During our investigations we will:

- Find out exactly what happened and what went wrong
- Ensure that the problem has been discussed with all the appropriate members of staff and provide feedback
- Offer an apology if we are found to be at fault
- Take steps to ensure that the problem does not happen again
- Put in place any actions that are highlighted as a result of your complaint

We will also ensure the following :

  • That the conclusions reached in relation to the complaint and any remedial action that will be needed

- Confirmation as to whether the practice is satisfied that any action has been taken or will be taken.
- If it is not possible to send the complainant a response in the agreed period it is necessary to write to the complainant explaining why. Then a response is to be sent to the complainant as soon as is reasonably practicable.
- If the complainant is dissatisfied with the handling of the complaint then they are to be advised to contact the Health Service Ombudsman and how to do so.

Recording complaints and investigations

  • A record must be kept of:

- each complaint received
- the subject matter of the complaint
- the steps and decisions taken during an investigation
- the outcome of each investigation
- when the practice informed the complainant of the response period and any amendment to that period
- Whether a report of the outcome of the investigation was sent to the complainant within the response period or any amended period.

If a complainant is unhappy with the outcome

We believe that raising your concerns with us will give us the best chance to improve our service.

You will receive a final response letter that will include details of the result of the investigation into your complaint and your right to take matters further if you remain dissatisfied with the response.

Whilst we hope that we can give a satisfactory explanation or solution, we appreciate that this may not always be the case.

You have the right to request an independent review of your complaint by contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,
Millbank Tower,

Telephone advice line: 0345 015 4033



You have the right to approach NHS England if you feel you cannot raise your complaint directly with us. In the first instance you should contact them for further advice on how to go about this. They can be contacted at:

NHS England
PO Box 16738
B97 9PT

Telephone: 0300 311 2233

If using email ensure that you state: ‘For the attention of the complaints manager’ in the subject line.

Review of complaints

  • Complaints received by the practice are to be reviewed at staff meetings to ensure that learning points are shared.
  • A review of all complaints will be conducted annually by the Complaints Manager to identify any patterns that are to be discussed with the Practice Manager.
  • The Complaints Manager will notify the Practice Manager of any concerns about a complaint leading to non-compliance.

NHS England ask for complaints returns 6 monthly. This is sent to them directly online.

This asks for the surgery to:

  1. a) specify the number of complaints received
  2. b) specify the number of complaints which it was decided were well-founded
  3. c) specify the number of complaints which the practice has been informed have been referred to the Health Service Ombudsman
  4. d) summarise the subject matter of complaints received
  5. e) summarise any matters of general importance arising out of those complaints, or the way in which the complaints were handled
  6. f) summarise any matters where action has been or is to be taken to improve services as a consequence of those complaints.

Related Documents

CQC ‘How to complain about a health service or social care service’

‘How we deal with complaints’ information from the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman

‘NHS England Complaints Procedures’ September 2014


Feedback about NHS 111 & Care UK

We welcome feedback about NHS 111 Care UK both positive and negative.

Care UK

Patients wishing to feedback should do so via

By email (preferred):

By fax (safehaven):02073875652

By post:CareUK HS,The Bloomsbury Building, St Pancras Hospital, 4 St Pancras Way, London NW1 0PE

Or if they prefer to speak to someone, please contact; 0333 999 2570

Please note calls to this number are recorded.

NHS 111

Patients may wish to leave their NHS 111 feedback or personal story online.

By email (preferred):

By fax (safehaven):020 8962 4401

By post:111 Clinical Governance Lead, c/o LCW,St Charles Centre for Health and Wellbeing, Exmoor Street, London W10 6DZ


Downloadable documents

How to make a complaint

Information on making a complaint