NHS Complaints Procedure Lawyers Liverpool & North West London
If you are unhappy about the treatment you have received from the NHS or you believe the treatment was below the standard you would expect then you are entitled to make a formal Complaint to the hospital or other healthcare provider.
Making a complaint will ensure that the treatment you received is reviewed and consideration is given as to whether there were any failures in the care or treatment provided to you. This could include situations such as delay, misdiagnosis or poor outcomes following surgery.
In our experience concerns about medical treatment and a belief that there has been fault on a health professional often stems from poor communication. The complaints process can therefore be an excellent process to allow the hospital to explain in layman terms the reason for a certain treatment or outcome. This explanation can lead to the patient’s concerns being addressed and avoiding the need for any formal litigation. It can therefore be a very positive process for patients and health providers.
Contact our NHS Complaints Procedure Lawyers
If you are looking for legal advice regarding a complaint against the NHS, contact our specialist Medical Negligence Lawyers on 0808 168 5457 or complete our online contact form.
The complaints investigation usually involves those investigating your complaint reviewing your medical records, guidelines and interviewing the clinicians involved in the care, if necessary. Once all of the facts have been considered, the relevant healthcare provider will determine whether the care/treatment provided to you was of an appropriate standard and will write to you with their conclusions.
Making a complaint not only provides reassurance and answers but when failures are identified it gives the healthcare provider (Hospital/ GP etc) the opportunity to implement measures to reduce the chance that another patient will experience similar issues in the future. Any failures and training points identified by the complaint should be passed down through the relevant department via the Clinical Lead.
Knowing who to complain to can seem confusing, especially if more than one organisation is involved. Each hospital or care provider is the responsibility of a “Trust”. For example, the Royal Liverpool Hospital is part of the Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
If you have complaints about multiple hospitals, then you may need to draft a complaint to each provider unless they are all controlled by one Trust or Health Board.
If you need assistance identifying the correct person to write to, please do not hesitate to contact us.
- Set out the basic facts of the case
Preparing a careful and concise chronology will be key when expressing why you believe the treatment you have received was of a poor standard. Being precise and avoiding lengthy descriptions helps focus the attention of all of those involved. Bullet points are usually helpful in this regard. The more you are able to focus the reader on the key issues, the better. Do not include irrelevant information that may detract the reader from your key complaint. Making reference to poor quality food in hospital may allow the responder to focus on this rather than the important, central complaint. Remember that those investigating will have your medical records to assist them.
If you are struggling to produce an accurate chronology, please do not hesitate to contact us.
- Pose specific questions regarding the care
Once you have established a chronology, this should be followed with questions surrounding the care that you believe requires investigating. You should provide specific questions regarding the treatment provided, such as; why was my fracture not diagnosed or suspected at the time of my first attendance? You should also provide some general questions such as; was the overall care in respect of the diagnosis and treatment of my fracture correct?
If you require assistance when considering what questions to ask, please do not hesitate to contact us.
- Chase safe receipt of the complaint
Ensure that your complaint is acknowledged by the Healthcare provider and that they have provided approximate time scales for providing their response. Once they have done so, remain in regular contact to ensure compliance with the turnaround time.
Delay – All complaints departments are busy and as result you should ask for regular updates to ensure the complaint is dealt with in the appropriate time period. The time scales for a response will be set out when they acknowledge receipt of your complaint. Please be aware that the fact you are engaged in the hospitals complaint process does not affect your time limit (limitation date) in respect of any claim you may wish to bring in the future for medical negligence. Your limitation date continues to run and it is vital that you obtain early advice from specialist medical negligence solicitors to avoid any potential claim running out of time.
The response should set out the conclusions and if failures were identified the Hospital should provide apologies.
Dismissed – If you feel the complaint has not been taken seriously or has not been investigated properly, please contact us to discuss your potential claim for clinical negligence
We have had repeated experience of hospitals rejecting complaints and denying any fault but we have subsequently succeeded in bringing a successful claim and recovered substantial damages and apologies for our clients. Just because the Hospital refuse to acknowledge failures in their complaints process does not mean there has not been negligent treatment resulting in a significant injury.
May have made a difference – If there is a suggestion in the response that the outcome “may” have been different but they will never know, our experience is that there is a good chance the outcome would have been different in the absence of the error / delay. If you feel this is the case and you would like to investigate this further, please contact us to discuss your case.
Admissions – If admissions are made we would strongly recommend that you obtain urgent specialist legal advice. The Hospital cannot deal with issues such as compensation via the complaints procedure. Compensation could include substantial awards for additional pain and suffering, increased care costs, loss of earnings, medical treatment costs etc.
Ombudsman – In the event that you are not satisfied with the Hospitals response to your complaint you can escalate your complaint to the Healthcare Ombudsman. The Parliamentary and Health Service ombudsman’s role is to investigate unresolved complaints and is independent of the NHS. Please be aware that delays with the Ombudsman are common and they are unable to award compensation.
Help and guidance for NHS Complaints
If you are struggling to understand any aspect of the complaints procedure or would like us to review a response please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to provide you with free no obligation advice on the process and your options.