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Patient Advice and Liaison Service 

Formal Complaints

How to make a formal complaint

If you feel you are unable to talk to the staff involved or the PALS team, you may make a formal complaint by contacting:

Consumer Relations Manager

West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust

Hardwick Lane

Bury St Edmunds

Suffolk IP33 2QZ

Tel: 01284 713847

All formal complaints are investigated and you can help us by including as much information as possible, for example:

·         Where and when the event(s) about which you are complaining happened

·         Any staff involved – where possible please give names

·         Any member of staff with whom you have already discussed the complaint

If you are making the complaint on behalf of another person, in respect of patient confidentiality, it may be necessary for us to obtain that person’s consent before we can investigate.

It is important that you make your complaint as soon as possible after the event(s). Usually the NHS will only investigate complaints that are either:

·         Made within 6 months of the event


·         Made within 6 months of realising you have something to complain about – as long as it is not more than 12 months after the event itself

These time limits can be waived if there are good reasons why you could not complain sooner.

What happens after I make a formal complaint?

If you make a formal complaint it will be acknowledged by letter or telephone within two working days. Your concerns will be fully investigated and every effort made to resolve the matter honestly, openly and promptly. You will be offered the opportunity to discuss the matter further with the Service Manager.

·         You can expect to receive a response from the Chief Executive within four weeks explaining the findings of the investigation and telling you what action has been taken. If we have been unable to complete the investigation within four weeks you will be informed of the reason for the delay and of any progress

·         If you ask the Community Health Council to complain on your behalf, the Trust will respond directly to the Community Health Council’s office. You may be offered the opportunity to discuss the matter further with the Service Manager. You may ask a friend or a member of the Community Health Council to attend this meeting with you.

This process is called Local Resolution.

If you remain dissatisfied, you do have the right to ask your complaint to be considered by an Independent Review Panel. Your request will be dealt with by a Convener who will ask you to explain, in writing, why you are not satisfied with the resolution of your complaint. The Convener will contact an Independent Chairman to consider your case and assess whether any further Local Resolution could be taken to resolve the problem.

The Convener does not have to set up a panel, this will only be arranged if the Convener thinks the Panel’s investigation is likely to resolve the problems. You will be notified of this decision within four weeks of your request for an Independent Review.

If you are still dissatisfied after the NHS complaints procedure is completed you can ask the Health Service Commissioner (the Ombudsman) to investigate your case. The contact address is:

The Health Service Ombudsman for England

11th Floor, MillbankTower

London SW1P 4QP

Tel: 0207 217 4066



What is PALS?
Patient & Public Involvement
Patient Information Leaflets
Your Guide to the NHS
How can I find more information?
Comments, Complaints & Concerns
Formal Complaints
ICAS - Independent Complaints Advocacy Service
Support Groups
West Suffolk Cancer Support Groups
Why information is collected about you
Accessing your health records
Confidential Information
Information about your discharge
NHS Funded Continuing Health Care
PPI Strategy & Framework
How the service is being used
Case Studies

Contact us by or telephone: 01284 712555

West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust

Last Modified: September 2001