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Making a complaints

Professional misconduct

If you think an NHS practitioner or social services employee has been guilty of professional misconduct, you can complain to their professional or regulatory body.

Examples of professional misconduct include:

  • practitioners who have a sexual relationship with a patient,
  • practitioners who claim that they're competent to practise but are not,
  • practitioners who falsely claim that they're qualified to practise,
  • breaching confidentiality, and
  • manipulating patient's medical records.  

Professional regulators

The purpose of the professional regulators is to protect and promote the safety of the public. They do this by setting standards of behaviour, education and ethics that health professionals must meet. They deal with concerns about professionals who are unfit to practise due to poor health, misconduct or poor performance. Regulators register health professionals who are fit to practise in the UK, and can remove a professional from the register and stop them from practising if it's in the interests of public safety.

Details of how to contact the professional regulators are available from the General Medical Council (also available in 12 other languages). 

Healthcare regulators

The healthcare professional regulators in England are:

The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) oversees the work of the health professions regulators. It carries out an annual performance review with each regulator, and looks at whether the regulator operates to agreed standards. CHRE looks at the final stage decisions made by the regulators on professionals' fitness to practise. If a decision is unduly lenient and therefore fails to protect the public, CHRE has the power to investigate it further. You can find out how to report a health professional on the CHRE website.  

Social care regulator

Until 1 August 2012, social workers in England were regulated by the General Social Care Council (GSCC). This task has now been transferred to the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). The HCPC has codes of practice and training standards that professionals have to meet before they can register. Action may be taken against any registrant that does not meet the HCPC standards, including stopping them from practising. This means that if you are unhappy with the care or services you are given, or worried about the behaviour or health of a registrant, you can always raise your concerns with the HCPC.

Other help with concerns about professional conduct

You can also contact your local Public Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) or Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) office for advice on how to make a complaint.


The 5 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Homesweethome9 said on 10 April 2014

My partner recently missed an appointment, and contacted the podiatrist directly via a social media site, instead of going through his GP for another referral. The podiatrist has taken my partners contact details off the system and has met him since and given him the insoles he needed. However she has been texting him, offering to meet up for coffees and food. Can you tell me if this is professional misconduct? Because I feel very strongly about this situation and I believe that it is.

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User847651 said on 20 February 2014

My wife had operation today and she's been giving an expired yoghurt muller with the meal What quality check procedures the hospital follows very unprofessional unethical.

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myexperience said on 11 November 2013

I had a very good reason to complain about our GP (now not our GP) but she did not have a complaint handling policy, took a long time to respond, did not investigate it accurately, kept no records of an investigation and was finally dishonest in reply.

I went to the ombudsman but they said everything appeared normal. If that is normal no wonder the NHS is in such a state.

Apparently dishonesty is acceptable and isn't covered by professional misconduct but what she actually did was totally wrong and definitely negligent.

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1deano said on 17 April 2013

I had a 5 month wait for my wisdom out it finally came they took the scan but it wouldnt send to the computer at yeovil.... still sat here a month later no rebook which they said they had done...! Pathetic service

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wisdomtooth said on 05 February 2010

what do you do if your dentist books you a paid dental appointment,but when you arrived on the date and time of your appointment,you find out that the dentist has closed down!

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Page last reviewed: 15/03/2013

Next review due: 15/03/2015


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