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

Citizens Advice have produced a number of resources to help you make a complaint. These include help writing a letter of complaint, a flowchart showing the complaints process, and a list of things you should and shouldn't do.

There are also guides on how to make a complaint about various different providers, including GPs, dentists, and hospitals.

NHS and social care complaints

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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 Bristol, including community 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. 

Sirona

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Commissioners

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 Clinical Commissioning Group.

BNSSG CCG

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Advocacy

The Advocacy People can support you if you have not had the service you expected from a service provided or paid for by the NHS.

The Advocacy People

The Care Forum can offer advice and guidance on making a complaint about social care services in Bristol.

The Care Forum

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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 Bristol City Council.

If you want to complain about adult social care services, you can fill in an online form, call, or write to 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 fill in an online form, call, or write to 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