NHS Cheshire and Merseyside is committed to ensuring our patients can access high quality care that is safe, effective and focused on patient experience. We expect our patients to be treated with respect, dignity and compassion by the services that we commission.
However, we recognise that occasionally things may go wrong or that you might be unhappy with the care that you have received.
Some issues can be resolved quickly by speaking directly to the staff in the service that you have accessed or by asking our Patient Advice and Liaison Service to assist you. Other issues you may wish to have formally investigated under the NHS complaints procedure.
You have the right to make a complaint about any aspect of NHS care, treatment or service, with the assurance that your care and choices as a patient will not be compromised by raising a complaint.
You can either complain to the service provider directly (for example your local hospital) or to the organisation that has commissioned (planned and bought) the service.
Read our complaints policy for more information.
Make a complaint
To make a complaint, you can contact our Patient Experience Team via the follow ways:
Frequently asked questions
Who can make a complaint?
A complaint can be made by a patient or another person who has been affected (or is likely to be affected) by the actions or decision of an NHS service.
A complaint can also be made by somebody who is acting on behalf of the patient or the person affected, as long as they have appropriate consent.
Who should I complain to?
NHS Cheshire and Merseyside commissions most primary and secondary care services such as the care you receive at GP practices, dentists, opticians, pharmacies, walk-in centres, hospitals, and community services like district nursing.
You can choose to make a complaint to the provider of one of these services, or to NHS Cheshire and Merseyside as the commissioner of the service.
NHS England is also the commissioner of some specialised services. You can find more information about raising a complaint with NHS England here.
In the event of a complaint about organisations in both primary and secondary care (for example, if you have a complaint about both your GP and hospital care) you are able to raise your complaint with NHS Cheshire and Merseyside and we will co-operate with any other organisations involved, to provide you with a co-ordinated response.
Who do I complain to about primary care services?
Prior to 1 July 2023, members of the public wishing to make a complaint about primary care services to the commissioner would have contacted NHS England.
This includes complaints about GP practices, dentists, opticians or pharmacies.
From 1 July 2023, if you want to make a complaint about primary care services to the commissioner you will now contact NHS Cheshire and Merseyside.
Members of the public with ongoing complaints received on or after 1 July 2022 will receive a letter from NHS England informing them that NHS Cheshire and Merseyside will take responsibility for the handling of their complaint.
Members of the public with any ongoing complaints received before 1 July 2022 will receive a letter from NHS England informing them that their complaint will be retained by NHS England.
Members of the public can still make a complaint to the provider of the service. This has not changed.
Is there a time limit for making a complaint?
A complaint should usually be raised within 12 months of the event(s) concerned, or within 12 months of the matter(s) coming to your attention.
Although there may sometimes be good reasons for extending this timescale, an investigation is usually most effective if it can be instigated as soon after the event as possible.
Who can support me with making a complaint?
NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s PALs or Complaints team are happy to help with any queries you might have about the process of raising a complaint.
You can also contact an Independent NHS Complaints Advocate (ICAS) for further practical advice and support to help you resolve your complaint.
How will my complaint be handled?
The first stage of the NHS Complaints procedure is called Local Resolution.
If you choose to raise a complaint with NHS Cheshire and Merseyside as the commissioner of the service that you have cause to complain about, we will liaise with the provider of the service and request that they undertake a thorough investigation into the agreed points of concern.
Following the investigation, you will receive a formal response from an Executive member of staff which explains our consideration of your complaint, an honest explanation or conclusion that we have reached in respect of the concerns raised and if appropriate, confirmation of the remedial steps that will be taken to avoid something similar happening again.
What if I am unhappy with the response?
If you have reached the end of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s complaints procedure and are dissatisfied with the outcome, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman (PHSO) to review the case. The PHSO is independent of the NHS and makes final decisions over unresolved complaints about the NHS in England.
You can read more about the PHSO on their website: https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/
Is there another way I can raise a concern about the NHS?
NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s Patient Experience team also responds to correspondence received from local Members of Parliament raising concerns on behalf of their constituents.
If you feel very strongly about the impact of a healthcare decision on you, a relative or your local area, you can contact your local MP to raise your concerns.
You can find your local MP here: https://members.parliament.uk