Complaining about health and social care

Explains what you can do if you experience a problem with the health or social care you receive or think you should have received. Applies to England and Wales.

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Useful contacts

Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA)

0845 123 2352

UK charity for patient safety and justice. Provides free independent advice and support to people affected by medical accidents through their specialist helpline, written casework and inquest support services.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

0300 061 6161 (press ‘1’ to speak to the mental health team)
[email protected]

For complaints about anything that may have happened during your time in hospital under section (in England).

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)

0300 7900 126

Independent regulator for social care in Wales, where you can make complaints about care providers and workers.

Community Health Councils

Community Health Councils listen to what individuals and the community have to say about the health services provided for them. They can help you access your medical records or make complaints about NHS services.

General Medical Council (GMC)

0161 923 6602

Independent organisation that helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK.

Health and Care Professions Council

0300 500 6184

A regulator that maintains standards of health and care professionals, including arts therapists, occupational therapists and social workers.

HealthWatch England

0300 068 3000

National consumer champion in health and care. It has power to make sure the voice of the consumer is heard by commissioners and regulators of health and care services.

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW)

0300 062 8163

Independent regulator for healthcare in Wales, where you can make complaints and provide feedback.

Law Society

020 7242 1222 (England)
029 2064 5254 (Wales)

Provides details of solicitors you can get in touch with for specialist legal advice. You can find details about solicitors by using their find a solicitor tool.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

0300 061 0614 (to make a complaint)

The final stage for complaints about councils and some other organisations providing local public services. Looks at complaints about adult social care providers (such as care homes and home care providers). Free service that independently investigates complaints.

NHS complaints advocacy (England)

0300 330 5454

Free, confidential advocacy service available to anyone who wants support to make a complaint to the NHS.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

0207 637 7181

Nursing and midwifery regulator for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

0345 015 4033

Independent complaint handling service for complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments.

Patient Advice and Liaison services (PALS)

PALS offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters. They provide a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers. To find out where your nearest PALS is, you can ask your local hospital, GP surgery or call NHS 111. You can also search on the NHS Choices website.

Patients Association

0208 423 8999

National healthcare charity promoting the voice of patients in health services.

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

0300 790 0203

Looks into complaints about public services and independent care providers in Wales.

This information was published in May 2017. We will revise it in 2019.

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