Compliments and complaints

The impact of Coronavirus on complaints

We have been monitoring the development of coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on our work here at the Royal Free Hospital. This is a time of exceptional demand on NHS staff, and it is inevitable that there will be an impact on our capacity to respond to complaints in the coming months. 
 
This is likely to be a particular problem in areas of the hospital where current demand is higher, e.g. the emergency department, intensive care unit (ICU) and respiratory medicine, because staff in those are required to prioritise their time caring for patients.  This will mean that less time is available to provide statements in response to enquiries and complaints.
 
Please be assured that we value your feedback but we are asking anyone who is raising a complaint, or has a complaint that we are already looking at, to be aware that it may take us longer than usual to answer queries and progress casework.
 
If you are able to postpone submitting your complaint until after this situation has stabalised, it would be much appreciated by all, but especially our clinical and nursing staff.  Please be assured that under the NHS Complaints Regulations, a complaint can be submitted up to 12 months from the incident in question and we will show leniency with this timeframe if you have delayed submitting your complaint due to the above.
 
Thank you for your support and patience.

Listening and responding to your feedback

We work hard to provide high standards of hospital care and services and we know how important it is that patients and those who care for them are as happy as possible while with us. If anything falls short of the expectations of our patients or their families, we will do all we can to put things right and make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

Our staff love to hear your comments and all feedback is passed back to the team. We take all complaints very seriously and will investigate each matter that is raised. We will respond to you as quickly as possible and we use the complaints we receive to improve our medical services and healthcare for all our patients.

Compliments and suggestions

If you would like to share a positive experience or make a suggestion about any aspect of your care, please speak to the person in charge of the ward, clinic or department. Alternatively you can use our online feedback forms (see below) or email rf.pals@nhs.net.

Unhappy with your care?

If you are unhappy with any aspect of your hospital experience please speak to the person in charge of the ward or clinic. We want all our patients to have the best experience possible during your time with us and our staff will do their best to resolve any issues you raise.

You can also contact our patient advice and liaison service (PALS), who will be happy to provide advice on and support with any aspect of your hospital experience.

How do I make a complaint?

If you or a patient you are visiting have concerns, we encourage you to let a member of staff know. We often find that by talking things through straight away, problems can be resolved there and then.

If you are staying with us or visiting someone who is, the best person to talk to is the nurse in charge or the matron of the ward. If you are visiting a hospital clinic, you can ask reception to put you in touch with the member of staff you need to talk to. Alternatively you can email rf-tr.cfhcomplaints@nhs.net (for Barnet Hospital or Chase Farm Hospital) or rf.complaints@nhs.net (for the Royal Free Hospital).

We want to learn from complaints and no patient or complainant will be treated unfairly because a concern has been raised about our care. No record is made of a complaint within a patient’s medical notes.

Read our leaflet, "Did we measure up?" to find out more about how to make a complaint.

Make a complaint confidentially to PALS

In addition there is the confidential patient advice and liaison service (PALS) set up to support patients, their families and visitors who need advice, have problems/concerns, or don’t know where to turn for information. PALS is about learning from patients and visitors involved with Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital to improve our healthcare services.

If you require help or advice about our hospital services, or information about how to make a complaint, please contact PALS:

Find out more about getting in touch with PALS.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is the final stage in the complaints process. They will only look into complaints once you have received a final decision from us that you are not happy with. If you’re not happy with our final response to your complaint and would like to take the matter further, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The service is free for everyone. To take a complaint to the Ombudsman, go to www.ombudsman.org.uk/making-complaint or call the helpline 0345 015 4033. It is important you make your complaint as soon as you receive our final response as there are time limits for the Ombudsman to look into complaints.