What should I complain about?
Telling us your views, whether it be a comment or a complaint, helps us to know what we are doing well, learn lessons from mistakes, and prevent them happening to anyone else.
The NHS Constitution (see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-nhs-constitution-for-england/the-nhs-constitution-for-england) sets out your rights as a patient, and explains the commitments that we have made to providing you with a high quality service. All organisations providing NHS care must take account of the NHS Constitution when treating you, so you may find it helpful to refer to it if you are thinking about making a complaint.
We are responsible for commissioning most acute (in hospital care), community and mental health services across the London Borough of Hackney and City of London. As a commissioning organisation, we undertake the process of planning, agreeing and monitoring clinical services. Commissioning is not one action but many, ranging from the health-needs assessment for a population, through the clinically based design of patient pathways, to clinical service specification and contract negotiation or procurement, with continuous quality assessment.
We welcome complaints about the way we have commissioned services, issues in the way our services are functioning, or perhaps if we are not commissioning a service that you feel is needed.
We do not provide clinical services directly, and if your complaint is regarding your medical or personal experience with one of the providers of our services, you may wish to complain to the provider directly (see below). You are welcome to involve us in that complaint, but if you complain directly to the CCG, we will need to share your details with the provider for them to address your complaint.
Where should a complaint be directed?
We realise that raising concerns about your care or experiences in the NHS can, at times, be challenging and we’d be happy to discuss your concerns and help support local patients in directing their complaint to the most appropriate organisation.
As you know, the NHS is facing significant challenges due to coronavirus. NHS staff are working hard to maintain high quality care in hospitals, GP surgeries and other services. All NHS staff are focusing on patient care and supporting front line staff to deal with this emergency.
This will mean that there will be delays to responding to your complaint. This is because we need clinical and other staff to review your complaint and contribute to the investigation and they are currently supporting the NHS to respond to this virus.
We will try to respond to as many complaints as we can where we receive the clinical input required.
As NHS services respond to the impact of Coronavirus, some of them may not be able to take calls regarding your complaint but you can contact them via email.
Further information can be found on the NHS England’s website: https://www.england.nhs.uk/contact-us/complaint/complaining-to-nhse/information-for-public-frequently-asked-questions/
When making a complaint, you can choose to complain to either of the following:
- The healthcare provider. This is the organisation where you received the NHS service, for example your hospital, GP surgery or dental surgery;
- The commissioner. This is the organisation that pays for the service or care you received. This will vary depending on the NHS service you are complaining about.
Complaining to us (the commissioner) may be the right option if you are not comfortable complaining directly to your healthcare provider, or if you feel this is not appropriate. We will contact the provider on your behalf, with your consent.
Please do be aware that if you have already complained to your healthcare provider, we will not be able to re-investigate the same concerns. If you wish to escalate your complaint regarding the provider, please contact the Health Service Ombudsman (see below).
Complaints about GPs, Dentists, Pharmacies, Opticians and specialist commissioning services
If you have a complaint about a GP, dentist, pharmacist, optician or specialist acute service (those that are generally provided in relatively few hospitals, accessed by a comparatively small numbers of patients), you can either contact the provider (GP practice, dentist, hospital etc) or the commissioner, NHS England who hold responsibility for these services. NHS England can be contacted at:
Address: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT
Tel: 0300 311 2233
Email: England.email@example.com, stating: ‘For the attention of the complaints team’ in the subject line.
Complaints about Individual Funding Requests, Continuing Healthcare panels or Freedom of Information requests
The CCG is responsible for Individual Funding Requests (IFR), Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) and Continuing Healthcare (CHC) packages. The processes for appealing or complaining about these services are separate to that laid out in this document and further information is available at:
For complaints or enquiries regarding a Freedom of Information request you’ve made to the CCG, please see http://www.cityandhackneyccg.nhs.uk/ONELCityHackney/Pages/have-your-say/freedom-of-information.htm.
Complaints about public health services
If your complaint is about public health organisations (those who provide services which prevent disease, promote health and prolong life), contact the provider of that service, or the commissioner – either the London Borough of Hackney or City of London Corporation:
London Borough of Hackney
Address: Business Analysis and Complaints Team, 2nd floor, Hackney Service Centre, 1 Hillman Street, London, E8 1DY
Tel: 020 8356 3770
City of London
Address: City of London, Guildhall, PO Box 270, London, EC2P 2EJ
Tel: 020 7606 3030
City and Hackney NHS Providers
You can complain directly to the provider of your care, with the details of the main local services available below:
Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Address: Complaints Service, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Homerton Row, London, E9 6SR
Tel: 020 8510 5113 (weekdays between 9.30am to 5.30pm)
East London Foundation Trust
Address: FREEPOST RTKB-ESXB-HYYX, Trust Headquarters, 9 Alie Street, London E1 8DE
Tel: 0800 085 8354
Barts Health NHS Trust (including the Royal London Hospital, Whipps Cross and Newham Hospitals)
Address: Central Complaints Team, 3rd Floor, 9 Prescot Street, London E1 8PR
Tel: 0207 480 4776 or 0207 480 4719
University College London Hospital
Address: Quality and Safety Department, UCLH, 2nd Floor West, 250 Euston Road, London, NW1 2PG
Tel: 020 3447 7413
Address: PALS and Complaints Service, Patient Relations Office, Whittington Health, Whittington Hospital, Magdala Avenue, London, N19 5NF
Tel: 020 7288 5551
Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
Address: The Chief Executive, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, 120 Belsize Lane, London, NW3 5BA
Tel: 020 8938 2523
City and Hackney Urgent Healthcare Social Enterprise (CHUHSE), our out of hours GP service
Address: Chief Executive or Complaints Lead, CHUHSE (City & Hackney Urgent Healthcare Social Enterprise), First Floor, East Wing, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Homerton Row, London, E9 6SR
Tel: 030 0033 0545
How I should complain to the CCG?
You can make a complaint to us in writing, by email, over the telephone or in person. Your complaint should be made as soon as possible. This should be within a year of the event.
In order to make your complaint to the CCG, please contact the Patient Experience Team at North and East London Commissioning Alliance (NELCA). They can be contacted on 020 3688 1666 or by email: ELHCP.firstname.lastname@example.org
You can write to us at:
Patient Experience Team (NELCA)
Unex Tower, 5 Station Street, London, E15 1DA
* NELCA - North East London Commissioning Alliance covers the following CCGs: City and Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge CCGs
We will retain your personal information for the purpose of your complaint investigation only. In order for us to make improvements to the clinical services you receive, anonymous information about your complaint may be shared as part of our reporting process. Our fair processing notice, details how we handle information.
Should you have any concerns with regard to this arrangement please contact us on CAHCCG.email@example.com.
Information on how to make a complaint can be made available in other languages, on audio cassette or CD, in large print, Braille and in illustrated format. Interpreters can also be arranged on request, including sign interpreters.
Who can complain?
We are responsible for commissioning for patients registered with one of our member GP practices (list available at http://www.cityandhackneyccg.nhs.uk/about-us/member-gp-practices.htm) and you should contact us with your concerns if you are registered with one of these practices. Because CCGs are set up to work for those patients registered with our member GP practices, this means that a patient may live in Islington, but be covered by us, as they are registered with a Hackney GP. This also means that if a patient lives in Hackney, but is registered with a Haringey GP, they should contact Haringey CCG to raise their concerns.
A complaint can be made by anyone who is receiving, or has received NHS treatment or services which are commissioned by us - or a representative such as a friend or relative on behalf of the patient, if that person:
- Has requested the representative to act on their behalf;
- Is a child;
- Is unable to make a complaint themselves because of physical incapacity or lack of capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005;
- A person who holds a lasting power of attorney (see https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/overview) for the patient, where the power includes health and welfare matters and is registered with the Court of Protection;
- Has died and where the complainant has sufficient interest in the person’s welfare to make the complaint (usually defined as someone having a legal right to have a claim on the deceased’s estate);
- A complaint can be made to the CCG about any of the services we commission.
If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we will need their written or verbal consent to proceed with the complaint. A consent form is available from our website or this consent can be granted in your complaint letter, if it is made explicit (see below) and is from the patient.
When a complaint is made regarding your medical or personal experience with one of the providers of our services, we will also require your specific consent to share the complaint with that service in order for them to investigate it. It will speed up the complaints process if you include one of the following lines in your complaint letter or email:
“In order to allow you to fully investigate my complaint, I understand you may need to contact other services within the NHS and I hereby give you my consent to do so. [insert name, telephone/ mobile number, email address]”
“In order to allow you to fully investigate the complaint raised on my behalf, I hereby give you my consent to do so [insert name, relationship with complainant]”
What can I expect of the CCG when responding to my complaint?
If you contact the Patient Experience Team (PET) by telephone, your verbal complaint will be recorded and a written copy provided to you, to ensure that we have the information you gave us correct.
All complaints will be acknowledged in writing within three working days, and at the same time, you will be advised of your right to access the independent advocacy support.
Complaints will be dealt with in a manner that is proportional to the issues raised. Your complaint will be investigated and the NHS organisation responsible will aim to resolve the concerns and, where needed, take action to prevent the incident from happening again.
We will keep you updated through the investigation process at least once every thirty days, even if it’s just to acknowledge that we are still working on your concerns. We do aim to make a full response to you within the first thirty days, but sometimes complaints can be complicated and we want to keep you informed through the process.
Whilst your right to confidentiality will be respected when investigating your complaint, we may need to share information regarding your case with a third party within the NHS. We will require your consent in order to do this. There may be times when we need to share information without your consent for example, to protect children and vulnerable adults.
Who can support me with my complaint?
An organisation called Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) can provide you with support and advocacy. This service can be contacted as follows:
Helpline: 0300 330 5454
Textphone: 0786 002 2939
Fax: 0330 088 3762
What can I do if I’m unhappy with the CCGs response?
If you are unhappy with our response to your complaint, you can contact us directly to discuss your concerns and what we can do to help.
You also have the right to take your complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman.
However, please note that the Ombudsman is currently not accepting any new complaints about the NHS because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is to help ensure the NHS can focus its resources on urgent healthcare. The Ombudsman will keep the situation under close and regular review. You can find out more information on the Ombudsman’s website www.ombudsman.org.uk
Once the situation is back to normal, there will be time limits for taking a complaint to the Ombudsman, although the Ombudsman can waive these time limits if it is perceived that there is good reason to do so. You can contact their helpline on 0345 015 4033 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information is also available at www.ombudsman.org.uk. You can write to the Ombudsman at: The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP.