Deciding to make a complaint?

Making a complaint can feel daunting and scary, and you might be wondering whether it's worth the time and effort. However, if you have problems with an National Health Service (NHS) or social care service, you need to resolve this to get the care you need. 

Complaints Procedures

Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent cannot process formal complaints about health or social care services but we are here to point you in the right direction.

If you are unhappy about any aspect of your care, or the service you received, it is best to speak with a member of staff involved with your care first. If staff cannot help you, or you are not comfortable speaking with them, you may want to make a formal complaint. This is when you need to follow the correct complaints procedure.

There are many organisations and services that provide health and social care services in Stoke-on-Trent, and in acknowledgements of this, we have put together some guidance below to help.

Complaints advocacy services

Asist provides specialist independent advocacy support focused on one-to-one, issue-based advocacy services for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and/or mental health issues.

Advocacy is about enabling people who have difficulty speaking out to speak up and make their own, informed, independent choices about decisions that affect their lives.

Contact Asist 

Patient Advice Liaison Service 

Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS) offers confidential advice, support and information on health matters. It provides a point of contact for patients, families and carers.

PALS do not investigate individual complaints but can give you general advice about the NHS complaints procedure.

Contact PALS service

Secondary Care Services 

  • Hospital non-emergency care, Ambulance, Out-of-hours, NHS 111, Community health services and Mental health services

If you are unhappy with any service you have received from the NHS, in the first instance speak to the person in charge of the service you are concerned or unhappy about or you can contact the commissioner (purchaser) of the service. Follow the link to the Stoke-on-Trent complaints process.

All feedback is welcome and if you don’t want to complain you can still let Stoke-on-Trent CCG know about your experience or concern by contacting 

Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

Health Service Ombudsman

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman makes final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments and other public organisations. They do this fairly and without taking sides. Their service is free.

Find out more here.

The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman

The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman look at individual complaints about councils, all adult social care providers (including care homes and home care agencies) and some other organisations providing local public services. They are a free service. They investigate complaints in a fair and independent way – they do not take sides.

Find out more here.