If you are unhappy with the end of life care you or a loved one have received, you are entitled to make a complaint. This could be related to care in a hospice, care home, hospital or any other setting where you or your loved one has received end of life care.
When to make a complaint
If you have concerns about the care you or a loved one has received, you can discuss these with a member of staff. They should address your concerns or direct you to somebody who can help.
If you’re not happy with how they responded, you have the right to complain, and your complaint should be dealt with.
Making a complaint should not affect the care you or your loved one receive in any way, and anything you say must be kept confidential and separate from clinical records.
How to make a complaint
1. Ask for a complaints procedure
To make a complaint it is usually best to complain directly to the organisation you have been dealing with in the first instance. Most organisations have a procedure that explains how you can make a complaint, ask a member of staff about this.
Complaints about an NHS service
The NHS site has more detailed information about how to complain about an NHS service:
If you want to make a complaint about a specific member of NHS staff, visit the General Medical Council’s (GMC) website for advice on how to do this:
2. Raise your complaint
After you’ve raised your complaint the organisation has a duty to try to address it. If you are not satisfied with the response, you can take further action.
3. Escalating your complaint for NHS services
First you can go back to the provider to say you are not happy with their response and see if they address this. If you are still not happy with the outcome, you can escalate your complaint further.
For NHS services
- In England you can complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Visit their page on making a complaint
- If you live in Wales visit the Health in Wales website. It contains information about the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales and Health Inspectorate Wales.
- If you live in Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland is the national body that monitors all NHS and independent healthcare services.
- If you live in Northern Ireland, visit the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority website.
4. Escalating your complaint for non-NHS services
- Complaints about services provided by the council: Complain directly to your council
- Complaints about services commissioned by the council: Contact the Local Government Ombudsman
5. If your complaint has not been addressed
If your complaint is still not resolved, contact the Local Government Ombudsman:
- England: 0300 061 0614 or https://www.lgo.org.uk/make-a-complaint
- Wales: 0300 790 0203 or https://www.ombudsman.wales/how-to-complain/
- Scotland: 0800 377 7330 or https://www.spso.org.uk/how-to-complain-about-public-service
- Northern Ireland: 0800 343424 or https://nipso.org.uk/nipso/making-a-complaint/how-do-i-make-a-complaint-to-nipso/