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Complaining

An individual can complain about their own care and treatment or a service failure that has affected them. 

Who can complain?

An individual can also complain on behalf of:

Someone who has died.

A child: 

  • if an individual wishes to make a complaint on behalf of a child, the organisation can only consider the complaint if they are satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the complainant to make the complaint instead of the child. If they are not satisfied, the organisation must notify the complainant in writing, and state the reason for their decision.
  • in addition the organisation has to be satisfied that the complaint is in the best interests of the child.

Someone who can't complain for themselves because of:

  • physical incapacity 
  • lack of capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 
  • the organisation has to be sure that complaints are made on behalf of people who lack mental capacity in their best interests. If they decide not to investigate the complaint they must let the complainant know this and the reasons why in writing
  • someone who has asked the complainant to do so providing their written consent.

How to complain?

If you are receiving a Sandwell based health or social care service contact us and will will signpost you to the relevant complaints organisation.

Normally you contact the local Healthwatch that covers the area where the service you wish to complain about is located. For services based in the rest of the Black Country contact: 

Here is a link to a full list of local Healthwatch across England.

The process

The complaints manager, for the service you want to complain about should be able to explain exactly how the system works locally, but generally you should expect the following:

  • Your complaint should be acknowledged within three working days.
  • The organisation should offer to discuss your complaint and arrange a plan to resolve your concerns. They should agree with you a timescale for resolving your issue and how they will keep you informed of progress.
  • They should contact you if they need to change the timescale and agree an amended timescale. The timescales can be influenced by things like how many staff they need to speak to, how easy it is for them to access the complainant's medical records and if other organisations are involved in your complaint.
  • There should be an investigation into the issues you have raised.
  • They should help you to understand the complaints procedure or offer information on where to obtain such assistance, for example, our local Health Complaints provider.
  • Once the investigation is complete the organisation should either write to you to inform you of their findings, or offer you a meeting to discuss them. When the meeting is over, they should write to you with their findings and any agreements they have reached.

Timescales

If you have not received this letter within the timescale agreed in the plan you may want to ring or write to check when you can expect to receive it. Organisations are encouraged to review complaints that have lasted more than six months to ensure that everything is being done to resolve them.

If you have not received a response letter within six months of your original complaint and the organisation has not agreed a longer time frame with them, the complainant may wish to refer your complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman.

For further information about making a complaint refer to POhWER's 'NHS Complaints Advocacy: a step by step guide about making a complaint against the NHS'

Contact us

If you would like to speak to us about your concern or would like further information on how to make a complaint contact us directly.