Resources to help you make a complaint

Everyone has the right to make a complaint about any aspect of NHS care, treatment, or service. If you or a loved one is unhappy about something, the first step is usually to speak directly to the staff who have been involved in your care. However, if you would rather speak to someone who's not directly involved, the information below may help. Complaints should generally be made within 12 months.

If need any additional information or are not sure who to make your complaint to, please get in touch.

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Tips and tools for making a complaint

Healthwatch England have put together some guidance on the different processes for making a complaint, plus information about when you should make a complaint and the key information you need to include.

Help making a complaint

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Mental health services

The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Services Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is a free, confidential and impartial service available to everyone who uses the Trust's mental health services, their families, carers or anyone who needs advice, information, support or guidance with a particular issue.

They can help if you're worried and not sure where to go, need clarity about a situation, want someone to listen to your experience of services, or need information and help.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service

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Hospital services

If you were treated by University Hospitals Bristol (including the eye hospital, dental hospital, and BRI), you can contact their Patient Support and Complaints team via their website.

University Hospitals Bristol

If you were treated at a North Bristol Trust hospital (including Southmead, Cossham, and Frenchay), you can contact their Patient Experience Team via their website.

North Bristol Trust

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Sirona Care & Health

Sirona provide a number of services in South Gloucestershire, including district nursing and the diabetes and Parkinson's services. Details of how to call, email, or write to their Customer Care Service are available on their website. 


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If you don't want to complain to the relevant NHS service, you can contact the commissioner of the service - but you can't do both. If your complaint is about primary care (e.g. GPs, dentists, opticians, and pharmacists), you should contact NHS England.

NHS England

If your complaint is about secondary care (e.g. hospital care, mental health, services, NHS 111, and community services like district nursing) you should contact the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care System.


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The South West Advocacy Network (SWAN) can offer advice and guidance on making a complaint, and help you make sure services hear what you have to say. They provide statutory advocacy services in South Gloucestershire (Independent Mental Health Act, Independent Mental Capacity Act, Independent Care Act Advocacy, and Independent Health Complaints Advocacy). 

They also provide generic advocacy - advocacy that is not required under the Care Act.

SWAN South Glos

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Adult or child social care services

To make a complaint about adult or child social care, you need to contact your local authority, which is South Gloucestershire Council.

If you want to complain about adult social care services, you can call or email the council's complaints team using the details on their website.

Adult social care services

If you want to complain about child social care services, you can call or email the council's complaints team using the details on their website.

Child social care services

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Contacting the ombudsman 

Before you contact the ombudsman, you need to have gone through the official complaints process of the service that you are unhappy with. For healthcare complaints, you need to contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

For social care complaints, you need to contact the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman. 

Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman

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Care Quality Commission

If you have experienced or seen poor care, you can also tell the Care Quality Commission. This is not a formal complaints procedure, and they aren't able to take forward complaints on your behalf, but sharing your feedback can help improve care.

Care Quality Commission