OUR SUPPORT SERVICE

In 2021 we supported 71 people with health negligence claims

We know from research that there are great barriers between the NHS and the black community, this particularly impacts our elders and those who are vulnerable. Therefore, we have established a service that would assist those who are vulnerable to health negligence or any other negligence that denies them their basic human rights. This includes negligence within residential care, housing  and education.
 
Advisors offer support, mediation or information acquired from regulated websites like  The Citizens Advice Bureau or the NHS, Gov.uk or they will sign post you to a relevant organisation and give you a breakdown of what to expect.
 


In order for us to continue this service, we will need funding, please help us by donating or advocating for our cause. Every action helps and there are lots of ways to support our service. You can do this by becoming a contributor, an ambassador, donating funds or donating items to our Theresa Powell Winter Kits.

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Use this form to send us your query (problem)

If you aren't receiving a response from your local doctor surgery or another health service about a complaint you have made, you should follow the steps below, outlining the NHS com[plaints procedure.

Write up your complaint in the form of a letter.

  • Address this to the Chief Executive if this is about an NHS trust. You do not need to include the name of the chief executive. For a GP or dental surgery, 111 service, opticians or pharmacy, address the letter to the Practice Manager or the Complaints Lead of the service. 

  • Outline your complaint and ask for it to be investigated under the NHS Complaints procedure. Try to be brief using short sentences and attach any diary of events if needed. 

  • Explain the effect of the situation, what you want to achieve from making the complaint (e.g. an apology) and try to be polite but firm. 

  • Ensure you keep a copy of all documents sent and received. 

 

Obtain a copy of the complaints procedure from the service provider. This may be found on their website or can be requested.

Send your complaint to the Chief Executive of the Trust.

  • Your complaint should be acknowledged/responded to within 3-5 working days. ​

  • The organisation should arrange a plan to help resolve the issue and explain how they will keep you informed during the process. 

  • There should be an investigation into the issue raised. 

  • They should inform you of the complaints procedure and state where support can be received. 

  • The organisation should provide you with a complaint response letter including a summary of your complaint (1); what the investigation found (2); and what to do if you are still unhappy (3).

If you don't want to complain directly to the service provider, you can complain to the commissioner of the service instead. Your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) can be found here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ccgs/

Once your complaint has been issued, the NHS Constitution will do any of the following:

  • Have your complaint handled and properly investigated. 

  • Know the outcome of any investigation into your complaint. 

  • Take your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, if you are not satisfied with the way the NHS has dealt with your complaint. 

    • Ombudsman set out Principles of Good Complaint Handling, If you refer your complaint to them, they will use these principles when considering your case. More information can be found on their website at www.ombudsman.org.uk. ​

Can I complain on behalf of someone else?

  • Yes, you can make a complaint on behalf of:

    • someone who has died.

    • A child. Organisations have to be satisfied the complaint is in the best interests of the child. 

    • Someone who cannot complain for themselves due to physical incapacity or lack of capacity (Mental Capacity Act 2005).

    • Someone who has asked you to do so with their consent. 

  • If any complaint is rejected to investigate, the organisation must let you know why in writing. 

I experienced discrimination by a healthcare/care provider. 

  • At the earliest moment possible of when the incident took place, you can make an informal complaint directly to the person who discriminated against you or the organisation. 

  • If the issue is unresolved, make a formal complaint using their complaints procedure you should request for if you cannot find it. After this, you can complain to Ombudsman if this is still an outstanding issue. 

  • If you want to take legal action, you will need to make sure the discrimination is identifiable in the eyes of the law using the Equality Act 2010. The different types of discrimination are explained and can be found on Citizens Advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/discrimination-in-health-and-care-services/health-and-care-services-what-are-the-different-types-of-discrimination/

    • If the organisation was the NHS, you can also use the Human Rights Act 1998 as well as the Public Sector Equality duty to identify whether they acted unlawfully.​

  • If you find that you have been treated unfairly, but it is not unlawful, you may be able to still make human rights claim if this has been breached. To make a public law claim such as this, you will need to apply for a judicial review here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n461-judicial-review-claim-form-administrative-court

  • You can report the healthcare or care provider to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). They don't usually help with individual cases but will if it is in the interest of the wider public or is referred to them by an advice agency. They could conduct a formal investigation into the issue if it is widespread. 

I would like to take legal action.

  • It is important to note that there are time limits to taking legal action. The claim must be taken in the civil courts within 6 months less than one day of when the incident first took place. Click here to see whether you are eligible to still take legal action 6 months after the incident first took place.

  • You may be able to get legal aid to help pay for any legal actions. Visit the GOV.UK website and contact Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) to help find out if you can get legal aid. 

  • To show unlawful discrimination, you need to prove enough facts from which the judge can decide that discrimination has took place. The organisation or individual discriminated against you will try to show it's not unlawful discrimination. 

  • Keep all documents, including emails to support the claim made. You can ask for more information from the individual who discriminated against you. If it is against the NHS or another public authority, you can make a Freedom of Information request. Click the link here to find out more information. 

  • The court can either:

    • declare discrimination happened.

    • order compensation to be provided to you. 

    • tell the healthcare or care provider to do or not do something (an injunction).

  • The Human Rights Act 1998 can strengthen your discrimination claim against a public authority. A human rights claim can also be made separately. 

I have been asked to attend a complaints meeting. What should I expect?

  • The staff complained about may be present in the meeting as well as supervisors or heads of departments. You can request in advance for specific staff members to be present or to not be present. If this request is not granted, make sure the Complaints Manager explains why this is the case. 

  • Let the organisation know if you are bringing other people affected by the incident to the meeting or someone to simply provide support. 

  • It is not compulsory for you to attend the meeting but may help to resolve your complaint.

  • If the meeting is recorded or you want your own recording of the meeting, make sure consent is given and received, You should be given a sent copy of the recording or notes taken after the meeting.

  • Make notes of any key points you want to make during the meeting. 

  • If you do not understand something, ask the individual to explain again. Ask for a break if you feel like it is needed. If you become too distressed to continue the meeting, you can asked for it to be continued at a later date. 

I am not happy with the response to my complaint. What can I do?

  • You may feel like the response to your complaint was not satisfactory. You can either:

    • Write another complaints letter explaining what you think has not been sorted or resolved. ​

    • Call the Complaints Manager and explain why you are unhappy with the response. 

    • Request a meeting to discuss other concerns. 

  • Once the organisation feels they have done everything to answer your complaint, this should be advised in writing. From this you can refer your complaint to the Ombudsman.

I would like to complain to Ombudsman. 

  • You can only complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if every effort has been made between the organisation and yourself to resolve the issue. 

  • Provide evidence to the Ombudsman if you believe the organisation's decision is wrong or unsatisfactory. They will refer your complaint back to NHS or organisation if they feel not everything has been done to resolve the issue.

  • Ombudsman may reject a complaint if there is no evidence of someone acting incorrectly; things haven't been handled reasonably; it would not be a worthwhile outcome for an investigation.

  • If your request is accepted, a case manager will be assigned to the investigation, keeping in regular contact with you. They may request the complaint file and use information you have provided and reports from clinical advisors. 

  • Once the investigation is complete, you will receive a report outlining findings and stating whether the complaint is upheld, partly upheld or not upheld. 

    • If upheld or partly upheld, they will make recommendations of actions to be taken by the organisation to fully resolve the issue. ​

    • If you do not agree with the Ombudsman's decision to reject your case, you can go through the review process on the website below. This decision will be final as you would have exhausted the complaint's process.

  • You can access the complaint form on the following website: https://www.ombudsman-services.org/