Formal complaints

Whilst we understand that people wishing to raise concerns may be frustrated with the hospital; aggressive and abusive behaviour towards our complaints and PALS teams will not be tolerated.

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)

If you wish to take a concern about our care further, you can contact the complaints team of the hospital concerned.

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 services for all our patients.

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.

Advice on making an NHS complaint

It can be difficult to know where to start when making a complaint, so here are some tips to ensure that we can begin looking into your complaint as soon as we receive it.

  • 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(s) of the staff(s) and the ward name(s)/department(s) involved
  • 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.

Independent support for making a complaint

For patients of the Royal Free Hospital, free confidential help and support to make a complaint is available from POhWER, an independent complaints advocacy service:

Telephone:  0300 456 2370 (charge at standard network rate)

Minicom:      0300 456 2364

Email:         pohwer@pohwer.net

Write to:       London IHCAS Advocacy Hub, PO Box 14043, Birmingham, B6 9BL

For patients of Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm, free confidential help and support to make a complaint is available from VoiceAbility, an independent complaints advocacy service:

Telephone:   0300 303 1660

Email:           helpline@voiceability.org

Write to:       VoiceAbility, Unit 1, The Old Granary, Westwick, Oakington, Cambridge, CB24 3AR

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 a complaints manager, who will speak to the staff involved and may 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 agreed timescale. Sometimes it may take longer if, for example, a member of staff is on holiday and we need their 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 our complaints and are committed to improving our healthcare services for patients based on our patients' and their loved ones’ 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 your complaint is not resolved

The NHS complaints procedure aims to resolve all complaints at a local level. However, if you remain dissatisfied with our efforts to resolve your concerns, you have the right to ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to review your case.

The PHSO 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. The service is free for everyone. 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.

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
Millbank
London
SW1P 4QP

Complaints team contact details

Barnet Hospital

Telephone:    020 8216 4286 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm)

E-mail:            rf-tr.bcfcomplaints@nhs.net

Write to:         Barnet Hospital, Complaints Department, Thames House, Wellhouse Lane, Barnet, EN5 3DJ

Chase Farm Hospital

Telephone:    020 8375 1328 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm)

E-mail:            rf-tr.cfhcomplaints@nhs.net

Write to:          Chase Farm Hospital, Patient Experience Team, The Ridgeway, Enfield, Middlesex, EN2 8JL

Royal Free Hospital

Telephone:    020 7794 0500 extension 38263 or 33227 (Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm)

E-mail:            rf.complaints@nhs.net

Write to:          Royal Free Hospital, Complaints Department, Executive Offices, Pond Street, London, NW3 2QG