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Your choices - hospital choice

Hospital complaints

If you're not offered a choice of hospital or you're unhappy with the service provided by your hospital, you can complain. 

First, explain the problem to your GP. If you're still not offered a choice, contact your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)  or the Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS) attached to your hospital. 

Complaining about hospital services

If you're not happy with the care you received in hospital, you can make a complaint.

Speak to a member of staff in the hospital ward or department. The best people to speak to about your concerns are the ward manager, senior nurse on duty or the hospital receptionist. They may be able to resolve your problem or put you in touch with someone who can. Raising the issue early with someone in the department is usually the easiest and quickest way to resolve a problem.

You can also to talk to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). Most hospitals have a PALS office. They can give you advice on how to get your complaint resolved. This may include making a complaint to the hospital management through the NHS complaints procedure

However, if you feel too uncomfortable to complain to the hospital directly then you can make a complaint to your local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Note: if you have already complained to your service provider then the commissioner will not be able to reinvestigate the same concerns. In this case you should proceed to stage two of the complaints process.



The 24 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

j atherton said on 13 December 2014

My husband was told on 23rd Sep at Fairfield hospital, Bury that he needed a heart valve replacement, he had to stop work that day, we were told it was exremely serious.He was told that surgery would take place at same time as having an angiogram. Surgery is supposed to be at Manchester Royal Infirmary.He finally had an angiogram on 14th Oct which comfirmed an artery also needed attention. No mention of the surgery that was supposed to happen. After complaining to PALS a consultant phoned to say surgery would be in the next week or two. That hasnt happened. On 20th Nov i complained to PALS again, consultant phoned again to say not only did he require valve replacement and dimple on artery that he also had a hole in his heart. Two more emails to PALS (automated reply) he got appointment for follow up appointment for 9th Jan 15. Follow up from what???? Now we got change of appointment to 15th Jan. So from 23rd Sept 14 to15th Jan 15 that would make it 17 weeks with no treatment. Surely this is almost at the maximum waiting time? Can somebody please advise on this, it is tearing us apart. We live in fear of something happening to him

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chunky chicken said on 27 July 2014

I went to hospital for two days I was really ill and they sent me home on Wednesday and then on Thursday I was in pain so I called a ambulance service they took me to hospital and they put me on a drip and then they said they was nothing they could do for me so they sent me home

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_beth_phillips said on 09 July 2014

My nan was recently admitted into hospital with an infection in her finger joint. She had previously had a heart attack and a stent inserted to help with a blocked coronary artery, and was complaining of chest pains and experiencing exactly the same symptoms of the previous heart attack. The staff on the ward told her not to worry, that it was only indigestion, however later tests showed that in 2 days she had experienced 2 minor heart attacks and that both arteries supplying the heart with blood had blood clots. Before a bypass operation my nan was told she had acquired a bacterial infection in her digestive system and needed to be in a room of her own until the infection passed, and she was able to have the operation. Once in the room my nan was not given a meal, but a slice of bread. When she asked why she hadn't had food, she was told that there was simply not enough food. Also as my nan is not allowed out of bed currently due to her heart, she asked for a nurse to assist her to go to the toilet. However the nurse simply shouted at her and refused as she had only been to the toilet recently. Distressed and in need of sleep my nan asked a nurse if the door to her cubicle could be closed due to noise from the bay opposite. She was once again yelled at and commanded to be quiet, and was left with the door remaining open. My nan is currently still in hospital and I am concerned as to if this is only the beginning of horrible and unprofessional lack attention given to the patients on the ward. I understand this comment will not achieve much, but I would like to make others aware about underlying problems in the nhs, and that I believe there are many other stories that have not been shared. I am going to file a complaint into the nhs, and my nan will request to change hospitals, as according to her rights, and stated on the nhs website she is allowed to do so. Good luck to anyone fighting a battle to improve the nhs.

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Rosey55 said on 22 June 2014

Onmidazolam Thursday the 19th of june i was booked in for an Endoscopy. The nurse that was taking all my details asked about my alcohol intake. I told her 2or 3 cans of lager 2or 3 times a week. She then wrote that down as 28 units of alcohol a week. The lady that was doing the endoscopy looked at my notes and as she thought i was a heavy drinker? i was only given 1.5mgs of Midazolam. I was aware of the whole procedure and i retched several times. When they had finished the procedure and i sat up, i told the nurse about fact that i was not sedated. Her reply was because of your alcohol intake.?.I had no alcohol previously for 3 nights or 3 nights after the procedure.I am very very upset about this and as a result, i will never have this procedure done again. I am under my doctor and clinical phsycologist because of depression and since this happened, i have neither been able to eat, drink or sleep.I am also very very embarrassed to feel that the nursing staff think i am a heavy drinker.Can i make a complaint?.

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Scorchers said on 29 April 2014

My mother went to a hospital for a OB/GYN infection and a nurse looked at her after being there for 4 hours and told her it looked liked it was mauled. She said there was nothing she can and to go to a dermatologist. Then the nurse said she would need a referral from her primary that takes around 2 weeks. She has tried for 2 referrals since Feb. of this year and she has talked to 2 advice nurses. One in Feb. and one last night. Both nurses said she needed to be seen within the next 24 hours. So she went to the ER. My mother checked it herself and it was fine. What would you suggest for us to do?

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crawfie40 said on 09 January 2014

Had surgery at the Lister Hospital Stevenage on Mon 18th Nov 2013 and hospital still havent been able to find my notes - they claim to have them but am still to see them.
Treated badly in hospital with no information about my surgery or after care - no consultant came to see me, kept being lied to about one coming but no one did and discharged eventually after being lied to all day at 10.30pm.
Had outpatient appt on 3rd Dec which was messed up as they had changed my time to an earlier appt but kept waiting for 2 hours then as they didn't have my notes.
To date still being lied to and my GP still doesnt have my notes

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adjdcolley said on 07 January 2014

To the attention of pinderfields hospital. I was asked by my own gp to attend a&e to have my chest checked due to pain and already have had two blood vlots in the past. I spent Monday 6th January in a&e for 7 hours which the staff there was fantastic. They wanted me to have a ct scan but couldn't do it till tuesdsy afternoon so they gave me an injection in my stomach and said i could go home and come back the next day. I attended the ambulatory care department on Tuesday where they prepared me for the scan. After the scan when therresults where final back after waiting three and half hours for a doctor looked through my paper work and then approached me by say that I didn't have a blood clot but the pain was due to me been fat. How rude. Two years ago i was 32 stone and now after losing 13 stone did not want that for an answer. I didn't spend all that time and money for parking to be spoken to like that and not even in privacy as there was a couple sat opposite me in the room. The doctor needs to be taught how to speak to patients. I hope this is read by someone in pinderfields management as he seriously needs speaking to. Tge sister followed me out of the room to apologise for how he had spoken to me but i told her that herself and the male nurse had been great but the doctor needed bed side manner.

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Norbee said on 31 December 2013

To the direct attention of the Luton&Dunstable hospital director Chief Executive! I have decided to write to you as well as I will write to the ministry of healthcare (if there is any at all ) to share my first time experience about your hospital's A&E department. I have arrived 09.07pm on the 20th December 2013 with a right thumb trauma. As your staff described "it looks nasty"... After registration was directed immediately to X ray department where I have waited a complete hour due to the excellence of your computerized system as your highly trained stuff couldn't find the request file sent by reception. As soon as the pc gave the green light X ray pictures were taken by a very polite and apologetic man.
Now starts the horror side of the story; On my way back to reception area a young kid maybe 18 years of age angrily walked out of trauma care unit being very upset by the way he was treated by the stuff. This might sound normal to U but his left hand was bleeding!"
In addition to that I have witnessed how negligently the clean up of the blood infected area was cleaned with half dry dirty mops and staff jumping all over and around visibly having fun! Later on an another man was pushed in on a wheelchair for help visibly being in shock and told by reception to wait in the corner...he was shaking half unconscious etc...seeing this for a while I approached the reception staff to tell them I decided to run for my life! And did...
My finger is healing very well thanks to not nhs medical care.
All events should be on CCTV .
I can tell you one thing;in my originating country the whole bunch would have been arrested if police was called upon suspecting non assistance for person in emergency need.Not talking about my finger.A bleeding man walks out of hospital untreated!
Are we really paying NI contribution to receive this?

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Jonathanra said on 16 October 2013

slightly worried about a site where there are only 15 comments and they date back to 2010 !!
also site last reviewed Aug 2011 next review aug 2013

this kind of tells me this site isn't taken very seriously a bit like patient complaints in general I think...

I was hoping to raise an important issue but think I'll try elsewhere....

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User799091 said on 27 August 2013

I'm getting no help at all it's two months into it, I've had no ansewer to my complaint because the Doctor has apparently been out the country for 2 months so she can't interview him. They are making it nearly impossible to get a copy of my patient rights and guidelines, from admissions to departure.

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User799091 said on 27 August 2013

When she said no I tried to remove them myself, she asked me to stop and started to take them out for me but she still didn't remove the railings from the side of the bed, which made me panic, so she let the sides down and claimed I had broken her thumb. Anyway getting back to what I did as I was unable to walk the only way I had to get around was how I usually do at home when I having a bad day (or week) is to drag myself around on my elbows; that is normal behaviour for me. At which point all the Doctors crowded around me but I was still trying to make my way to a café because I was left to dehydrate for 24 hours a saline drip was fitted at about 1pm the one fitted in the evening did not work the needle went straight through the vein and the bag was still full in the morning the nurse tried to claim it was a new bag of saline but there was no other saline around, I had a headache everything was echoing, I felt sick, the roof of my mouth came away and my lips are still cracked now. The doctor then denied saying that I could go home but at least you had one honest member of staff who said that yes he said I could leave, this made me cross because the doctor was lying about it. At this point security was called I was really no threat to anyone because I was using my arms to move and I was dragging my legs behind me. At this point six members of the security staff held my arms on the floor and pinned my legs which put me in excruciating pain to the point that I was screaming and I became completely terrified and started acting out of character (this wasn't helped by the fact I wasn't given my medication). I believe that they could have just stood around me as I posed no threat from the ground level, one of the security guards used a martial arts pressure point hold which would not be allowed under statutory human rights.

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User799091 said on 27 August 2013

On the 25th of June 2013 I was examined by a Doctor, and really could not understand what he was asking me, there was a slight language barrier. Half way through examining me he took a phone call from a family member and just walked off with a team of Doctors without saying anything apart from "we'll see it later". I had been sent to Cardiff Heath Hospital from Glangwili Hospital Carmarthen at 10:00pm with a possible life threatening back problem and needed to be sent for an urgent scan. Getting back to talking about the behaviour of the members of staff on the ward, I asked a nurse if that meant I could leave where I hadn't been told anything and she went a Doctor and he told the nurse that I could leave, a second nurse came to talk to me and I asked her to remove the railing from the side of the bed and the cannula and IV drips so I could leave.

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Haggagah said on 11 March 2013

I'm absolutely disgusted with the service I recived at the westmorland general hospital in Kendal I've been waiting to be seen by a doctor for two hours ( and counting) and no one even came over to let me know how long they are going to be. I was left waiting with a pain in my eyes and you could clearly see there was something wrong with them as the eyeballs were covered with blood in both eyes. It would bo good if someone actually communicated with me to let me know how long they are going to be not leaving someone waiting wondering whats going on and not knowing if its something serious or not. Wonder if anything will get done about that but I doubt it.

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Joshxyz said on 23 February 2013

Lets face it, when a patient is discharged from Hospital at midnight with nothing more than her nightdress on and no money I think we can safely say that the powers in control of this so called health service have much to answer for. I doubt a complaint service to that same institution will do anything about it. Do Doctors and nurses work outside the law within the NHS?

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Jane1012 said on 24 October 2012

Is there any point in complaining? My mother-in-law has had her appt for a knee replacement cancelled this morning for the 3rd time. She is 76, in constant pain, on morphine patches and cannot get about. Her quality of life is affected greatly by the need for a replacement knee. On the first two occasions she was actually admitted and marked up ready to go into theatre before they cancelled!! The poor woman is being incredibly sanguine about it but it seems so unfair. My husband and I are living in the USA so it is difficult, at this distance, to give any assistance and somewhat frustrating. Any suggestions?

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faz7861 said on 02 July 2012

Leicester Royal Infirmary , I think that some of the nurses in there are very rude the male doctors seem nicer , I witnessed something today which disgusted me , This old woman could hardly walk and a nurse approached her with a wheelchair and didnt even have the decency to help her out her chair , she didnt even ask if she wanted help and even spoke to the woman quite rudely and expected the poor old woman to walk on her own onto the chair . I understand that doctors and nurses get tired due to long hours of work but that doesnt mean they have to do such things , All I am saying is that the nurses need to start to be more caring and at least make the patient feel comfortable around them . I know that anyone in the world who is ill would like to be handled by someone who is really caring and makes them feel comfortable , not expect someone to make them do things on their own its just not fair and if the nurses even smile it will make a huge difference aswell . I know it must be stressful for the doctors and nurses but imagine how the patients feel . Patients should be put first because they are the one's who are ill not the staff .

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jfield said on 07 May 2012

My Aunt who is undergoing cancer treatment was admitted to Ealing Hospital last Friday suffering from a stomach infection caused by her having to inject insulin and anti-clot agents at home (having been previously discharged after 11pm at night and left at home unsupported after suffering from pneumonia as her bed was needed!). She has successfully faught against a brain cancer and was responding to lung cancer treatment. She has been given no support at home and each time her illness has got too bad she has ended up having to be taken into hospital by ambulance as an emergency as it was the only way for her to get to see someone.

At 4am this morning 2 doctors entered her room to tell her that there was nothing else they could do for her. At what time did either of these doctors feel it was appropriate to tell someone at 4am that they are going to die without any family support around her. I am still in shock like the rest of the family that this would happen in the UK. We are devestated obviously that there is nothing else that can be done to treat her but what has made this so much wose is the manner and time that the news was delivered. I honestly wouldn't want my worst enemy treated at this hospital, at no time has my aunt been shown any consideration, care or respect.

I am totally disgusted!

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BehzadS said on 22 February 2012

After an operation in London Independent Hospital, Stepney Green , I was transferred to ITU. The dungeon. I was placed on the most horrible uncomfortable bed under a very powerful cold air blowing air conditioning unit. I am allergic to AC. I was told to stay flat to for 3 hours or I may bleed a lot.

I was cold to my bones and very miserable and shivering big time. Around 10.30 I told the new lady nurse that I am allergic to the AC and am very cold. She totally disregarded this. I asked for more blanket. I could not get warm in there. The nurse completely ignored me. I was too weak to demand any more so I asked for additional blankets loud. This time the lady gave me an additional blanket but very lightly on my top. I was cold, asked for more blanket. The blankets were given to me easier when a male nurse arrived and he was wonderful. I think I had 10 blankets on my top but very cold, Shivering and not getting warmer. Could not move from the fear of bleeding.

I have 2 slipped disk and very bad back as the result. I was heavily sedated so I could not raise my voice and insist on getting a better bed and may be a warmer place.

I have sent this letter to the hospital authorities and Executive Director has written back to me justifying all as a matter of routine procedure there. She claims that doctors need not to wear gloves when taking blood test. It is not unusual for a nurse and a doctor not being able to do a blood test. That I have not asked firmly at the night to go to another bed which is warmer and not directly under the AC. That the morning nurse has done a good job keeping me under the AC until after the breakfast.

This was a private care and they charged my insurance company over £7000 for my stay.

Behzad - age 61

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HowardH said on 24 January 2012

The most unnecessary and confusing thing I have ever done. For a nasal problem, my GP sent me a letter with three choices - all of which were in the Royal Liverpool; ENT Nurse Led Service, ENT Rhinology and General ENT. I don't have a clue what the difference is. Isn't my GP in a better position to choose than I am?
I don't want to have to make a choice - just send me to the most appropriate clinic.
Complete waste of time and money and symptomatic of the way in which the NHS is more about box-ticking than patient care.

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Beam10 said on 25 October 2011

I will need minor surgery which is performed in all hospitals.

When I visited my GP, I expressed my choice of hospital but he would not refer me there and only offered me the three hospitals in his local hospital trust area.

I called the PALS at the PCT and they could see no reason why he should not agree to my choice which is stated to be a right under NHS Choices.

So much for NHS Choices! Now it seems that I will have to start an argument with the GP. He is a good doctor and thats not something that I really want to do. In any case it should not be necessary.

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mzy said on 10 October 2011

Brooklea mental health gateway team are a useless waste of government money, all they want to know is if you are on benefits, and unless you are seeing/hearing things and want some psychotic drugs, they cannot/do not want to help and just send you back to your GP, after numerous useless appointments with health workers who know nothing about mental health, you never see anyone qualified, unless of course you want some phychotics prescribing, the faster the government get rid of this team the better, they do not help at all and all they do is make people more ill, they should be claiming benefits, instead of the wages they do not earn

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MTJ said on 02 June 2011

My father was admitted to the Royal Free Hospital on 28th November 2008 following the onset of shingles and was unable to walk.
Initially my father seemed to be responding well to treatment, particularly the physiotherapy he was receiving. We noticed however that some of the nurses and nursing assistants had a very poor attitude, particularly in regard to meals. My mother visited him on one occasion and was disgusted to find out that he was slumped over in bed with his face in his food. He was very weak and needed encouragement to eat but this was not happening, the assistant would just put the meal in front of him then leave. If we complained, the nurses and assistants were often very defensive and unhelpful.
This problem was compounded in December 2009 when my father’s false teeth were lost. At nights he would keep them in a glass next to his bed and we can only assume that the teeth were thrown out by a cleaner. I reported this to nursing staff as soon as I found out but it was never resolved despite repeated protestations from myself. Everyone I spoke to about this had the attitude that it wasn’t their problem and just passed the buck. This meant that from December 2008 until his death on March 1st 2009 he was unable to digest his food properly. Also in this period whilst at the Royal Free, he became infected with MRSA which further weakened his immune system.
It was decided to transfer him to Edgware Hospital in January 2009 but he still needed to go to the Royal Free Hospital for various tests. At this time he was unable to walk and in a wheelchair. Following a blood test at the Royal Free on 20th January my father told me that he did not receive adequate help in trying to get from his wheelchair to the vehicle that was scheduled to bring him back to Edgware Hospital. Because he did not receive the assistance he needed, he fell and broke his arm and did further damage to his shoulder. I contacted PALS but they said there was no CCTV so nothing was done,

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daveball said on 30 March 2011

i have never felt as let down in my life as i did to day i went to the hip clinic 3 rd visit the consultent dident even read my notses proper asked me the very same questions as the other doctors then told me he will refer me to an other doctor from a different dep 2 mri scan 4 doctors 1 x ray 4months and still waiting for treatment and also told my next visit will be in may but could be longer and in the meantime i am still in pain inless i go privert wot do i pay n i for and can i get a rebate for pour service

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hday said on 22 April 2010

Honestly, i am not one to complain about something that should be so helpful towards people, such as the NHS. But, my mum has been ill throughout her later life, due to a fall. She has been taking various tablets to help and only lately,since before christmas, early January, my mum has been suffering with terrible pain. Which has caused me to worry & my dad to worry, this causes stress for the whole family. As well as for my mum most of all, She has been in and out the hospital/A&E since january till now April 22nd. Shes been hospital currently and they have kept her in (finally) after many visits. But nothing seems to be done? If this hadnt been going on for so long, i would not complain. But Dosing my mum up on Even more Pain killers is Not healthy & not resolving the pain. Im sure in the long run this causes far more expenses to the hospital as well.

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Page last reviewed: 03/07/2014

Next review due: 03/07/2016