Resources to help you make a complaint

We know that making a complaint about NHS or social care services can be confusing. Healthwatch England have worked with Citizens Advice to provide you with the information you need to make a complaint when things go wrong.

All health and social care providers must have a Complaints Procedure available for you to see. This will tell you how to make a complaint to that service, the timeframe for a response and what you can expect through the process. 

If you are making a complaint about more that one organisation – perhaps a complaint that includes issues about your GP and local hospital – you'll only need to make one complaint. The organisation that receives your complaint must then co-operate with the others to ensure you receive a co-ordinated response.

When making a formal complaint try and include details about when and where the issue happened, a description of what happened, the name of the service or the person you are making a complaint about, your name (or the name of the patient you are complaining on behalf of), and your contact details. 

It will help if you have an idea if what you want to happen as a result of making the complaint. For example, do you want:

  • to make the service aware of your concerns?
  • an apology?
  • an explanation of what happened and why?
  • improvements to be made to stop this issues happening again?

You can also contact us to find out how to get help with making your complaint.

If you do give feedback or make a complaint to an organisation, we would like to hear about it too. If you tell us about it, we can use the information to help make changes and prevent the same thing happening to other people. 


  • Milton Keynes Safeguarding Team: If you feel that a young person is being neglected or mentally abused, please contact Milton Keynes Council Safeguarding Team on 01908 253772
  • Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS): If you want to make a complaint about Milton Keynes University Hospital you should contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). Milton Keynes University Hospital ask that, where appropriate, you speak to the ward or department senior sister, charge nurse or manager in the first instance. 
  • CQC: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspects all hospitals, dentists, care homes and care services to see if they meet national standards. The CQC cannot settle indiviudal disputes but your feedback about poor care helps them to decide when, where and what to inspect.

  • NHS England: NHS England take complaints or feedback about primary care services such as GPs, dentists, opticians or pharmacy services. 

  • Dental Complaints Service: the dental complaints services is a free and impartial service, funded by the General Dental Council, and can help resolve issues you may have with private (not funded by the NHS) dental services 

  • The Advocacy People: The Advocacy People are an advocacy service in Milton Keynes. They listen and help you to be heard. As an independent charity, all of the services they provide are free and confidential.
  • AvMA: AvMA is a charity for patient safety and justice who provide free independent advice and support to people affected by medical accidents (lapses in patient safety) through their specialist helpline, written casework and inquest support. They can refer to their accredited clinical negligence solicitors if appropriate. 

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, or have been unable to reach a resolution, you can ask the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsmen to review the matter. The ombudsmen makes the final decision on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS.

Tips and tools for making a complaint

Adult social care complaints

Practical help you can use to make a complaint about adult social care services, including flowcharts, helpful tips and sample letters.

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Complaints about NHS services

Information on how to complain on behalf of someone else, top tips for making a complaint and sample letters. 

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GP complaints

Find out where to start if you have a problem with your GP. 

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NHS dentist complaints

Find out how to make a complaint about NHS dental care.

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NHS Hospital complaints

This information applies to all patients in NHS hospitals. It also applies if you're being treated in a private hospital when the treatment is funded by the NHS.

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Mental health services complaints

If you’re unhappy about your treatment for a mental health problem, you may be able to make a complaint. 

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Other NHS services

NHS care is usually very good and most people don’t have any problems. But occasionally things can go wrong. Find out more about complaints about other services.

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Find out information about how a staff member can report a problem in the NHS or an adult social care service

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