What to do if you are unhappy with a health service

If you are not happy with the care or treatment you have received or if you have been refused treatment for a condition, you have the right to complain, have your complaint investigated, and to be given a full and prompt reply.

Most issues can be resolved without the need for a formal complaint.  Usually an informal chat with your doctor or a member of staff who work for your service provider will sort things out more quickly.

However if you have tried talking to someone and it still has not solved your problem, or if it does, but you still want to make a formal complaint, you should make a formal complaint to your service provider, for example, your GP, dentist, hospital or pharmacist.  If you cannot make a complaint yourself, you can ask someone to do this for you.

Every NHS organisation has a complaints procedure.  To find out about it, ask a member of staff, look up their service information in the Local Offer or on their website.

Do you need help to understand the health care system?

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) offers confidential advice, support and information on health related matters.  They are a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers. 

PALS can help in several ways:

  • Help you with health-related questions
  • Help you sort out any concerns or problems when you are using the NHS
  • Explain to you how to get more involved in your own healthcare
  • Give you information about the NHS, the NHS complaints procedure, how to get independent help if you want to make a complaint and support groups outside the NHS
  • Improve the NHS by listening to your concerns and suggestions

You can find officers from PALS in your local hospital, you can find your nearest PALS office on the NHS Choices website or by phoning NHS 111 or you can ask your GP surgery, or hospital.

Do you want to give feedback on a health or social care service in Norfolk?

Healthwatch Norfolk is an independent organisation with statutory powers to act as the champion for health and social care users in Norfolk.  This means that people who make decisions about health and social care in Norfolk have to listen to you through Healthwatch Norfolk.

Healthwatch Norfolk has to represent the views and experiences of all health and social care users to improve the services that are commissioned and provided in Norfolk.

In their work, Healthwatch Norfolk has to do five important things:

  1. Gather your views and experiences, whether they are good or bad
  2. Pay particular attention to underrepresented groups, such as children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families
  3. Show how they are helping to make services better
  4. Show how they are helping to improve the signposting of services
  5. Work with national organisations to help create better services

You can share your experience of a service on the Healthwatch Norfolk website by searching for the name of a service you have used and leaving your feedback. 

By sharing your experience, you will help Healthwatch Norfolk to improve services by making your views known to the organisations responsible for providing your care.

You can choose to leave your feedback anonymously if you prefer.