NHS complaints procedure

Taking your Royal Free complaint further

We understand that there are times when you may not feel satisfied with the response you receive from the member of hospital staff you have spoken to about your concern, or the patient advice and liaison service (PALS) at the relevant hospital in our trust.

If you wish to take further a concern about our healthcare, please choose one of the following options:

  • Write to the Royal Free patient affairs team (address below)
  • Email rf.complaints@nhs.net
  • Complete an NHS complaints registration form 
  • Complete and mail an NHS complaints registration form to:

Patient affairs team
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
Pond Street
London NW3 2QG

Further advice on making NHS complaints about Royal Free hospitals

  • NHS complaints should be made as soon as possible after the event, as it is easier for everyone involved to remember what happened.
  • NHS complaints must be made within 12 months of the incident or within 12 months of discovering that you have cause to complain.
  • Please provide as much relevant information as you can: name, address, date of birth, the name and address of the patient (if different), hospital MRN/NHS number (if known), a full description of all the issues about which you wish to complain, relevant dates and times, the name of the doctor caring for you and the ward name/department
  • If you have more than one concern, it helps to number the points you are making, so we can make sure we answer all your concerns.
  • If you make a complaint on behalf of someone else, complete the relevant consent form so that we can respond to you and disclose confidential details of the patient’s care. The investigation will not commence until consent is received.
  • The NHS Complaints Advocacy Service offers free independent and confidential advice to help people make a complaint or express a concern about the trust or any other NHS service. They can provide help to make a complaint, and give advice about using the complaints system. They can offer support to help you through the complaints process.   
    • Telephone: 0203 553 5960 or 0300 456 2370 (Monday to Friday - 8am to 6pm)
    • Email: LondonIHCAS@pohwer.net
    • Text: send the word pohwer with your name and number to 81025
    • Website: www.pohwer.net
  • For queries or difficulties please contact the patient affairs team on 020 7794 0500 ext 33227 or 38263.

NHS complaints procedure: how we respond to your complaint

A letter of acknowledgement will be sent to you within three working days. Providing we have all relevant information, the investigation will commence. 

Your NHS complaint will then be investigated by the divisional complaints manager, who will speak to the staff involved and contact you to discuss the issues raised and agree how to take matters forward.

We aim to provide a response within 35 working days or within an alternative negotiated timescale. Sometimes it may take longer if, for example, a member of staff is on holiday and we need his/her statement. Please note that the 35 working days will commence as of the date that we receive appropriate consent from the patient / a signed copy of the complaint e-mail is received.

Our response will offer a full explanation of the circumstances which led to your complaint and, where appropriate, advise what action we will take to make improvements. We regularly review NHS complaints and are committed to improving our healthcare services for patients based on our patients' experiences.

If you are not happy with our response, you have the opportunity to let us know and we will endeavour to reinvestigate any outstanding points or concerns.

What to do if the NHS complaints procedure does not resolve your complaint?

The NHS complaints procedure aims to resolve all complaints at a local level. If you remain dissatisfied with our efforts to resolve your concerns, you have the right to ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review your case. You can contact the ombudsman as follows:

Telephone: 0345 015 4033
Online: www.ombudsman.org.uk

In writing:

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)
Millbank Tower