If you have made a hospital complaint, but are unhappy with the response you’ve received, what are your options?
Making a hospital complaint
If you have been a hospital patient then you are entitled to make an official complaint about the standard of care you received. You can also make a complaint on behalf of another person such as a child, someone who lacks capacity, a loved one who has passed away or anyone who has asked you to act for them.
A complaint should always be made swiftly, and certainly within one year of the event that gave rise to your dissatisfaction. However it is also important to bear in mind that if you ultimately wish to make a compensation claim you must must not allow the claim to become time barred. Legal claims should be commenced in court within 3 years of the event, or three years from your date of knowledge, whichever is sooner.
Before making an official complaint it is worth considering whether your concerns can be addressed informally. Could a word with the person concerned or their supervisor resolve matters informally?
If you decide to make a formal complaint then you can contact the complaints team at the hospital or look for the NHS complaints procedure online. The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) will also be able to help you.
When you make your complaint try to be as clear as possible about what happened and what effect it has had.
Your complaint should be acknowledged within three working days and you will be offered the opportunity to discuss how the complaint will be handled and how long it will take.
If you are not happy with the response to your hospital complaint
If you aren’t happy with the response you receive to your hospital complaint then you can take it up with the Ombudsman.
If it is an English hospital you should go to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. If the hospital you are complaining about is in Wales then go to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
The Ombudsman service is independent and entirely free of charge. If the Ombudsman believes that the hospital is at fault they will let you and the hospital know. The hospital might be asked to provide you with an apology or implement changes to put things right.
Investigations can take a long time, so again if you are considering a compensation claim it’s important to make sure that you do not go beyond the 3 year limitation date. If in doubt, speak to a specialist solicitor.
Making a hospital compensation claim
Making a hospital complaint does not prevent you from making a compensation claim. In fact making a complaint can assist a legal claim, especially if the hospital acknowledges failings in the standard of care provided or offers an apology.
Even if no apologies or admissions are provided by the hospital, the investigation into your complaint may reveal important information that could support your compensation claim.
How we can help
If you are unhappy with the response you have received to your hospital complaint and would now like to bring a legal claim for compensation then you can contact our helpline for a free case assessment.
If we feel that you have a good case then we can pursue your compensation claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.
Call 0808 139 1606 or email [email protected]