Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please contact us using the phone number or email below.

Anyone can complain about the service that they have received from the NHS. This includes treatment and care you may have been given by your GP, hospital, dental surgery, pharmacy, optician or ambulance service.

In some cases, you can make a complaint on behalf of someone else.Whether you want to complain about care and treatment you have received, or someone you know, you can contact the NHS Complaints Advocacy Service for support.

Yes, even if you do not have the written permission of the relative or friend who has died, you may raise a complaint on their behalf. The NHS may in some cases decide not to accept your complaint if they do not find you are a suitable representative, but if this happens, they will discuss this with you.

This will depend on whether the NHS paid for your treatment or if you paid for it yourself. If you paid for it yourself or it was paid through private healthcare insurance, you cannot complain to the NHS. You should contact the organisation directly and ask for a copy of its own internal complaints procedure which you will need to follow. If, however, your treatment was paid for by the NHS, you can make a complaint through the NHS Complaints Procedure.

Yes. If you are making a complaint on the patient’s behalf, you will need their written consent confirming they want you to pursue the complaint on their behalf.

If the person is too ill to provide you with their consent, is too young to provide you with consent, or if the patient is deceased, you should explain the circumstances around why you are making the complaint at the beginning of your complaint letter.

You should make your complaint as soon as possible. The NHS complaint procedure states that you should make your complaint within 12 months of either the event you are complaining about or as soon as the matter came to your attention. This time limit can be extended as long as the complaint can still be satisfactorily investigated so don’t let this prevent you from contacting NHS England about your complaint.

WHACS NHS Complaints Advocacy Services are paid for by local authorities, not the NHS. This means that we do not answer to the NHS and are able to be completely impartial. Our role, throughout all our services, is to make sure that people have a right to be heard. We do not share information about you with anyone outside of Engaging Communities Solutions CIC (ECS) without your consent.

Yes, your advocate will help you prepare for any meetings you have about your complaint and if you need them to, will come to the meeting with you.

When you first contact us, you may have a clear idea of what you want to be achieved. We can talk through your situation with you and help you understand how best to get the resolution that you want.

You might want to get an answer about a particular concern or an apology about something that has happened. You might want to get assurances that the NHS are going to improve the way they work, to avoid similar situations in the future. Whatever the result is that you want; our advocates can help you achieve it.

An advocate can come with you to appointments or help you communicate, whether by phone, letter or in person.

After the complaints process has been completed, we would like you to tell us about your experience with our service. Receiving a compliment is greatly welcomed, but we also want and need to hear where we could have done better so we can improve our service. Please use the link above so that you can tell us what you think.