It can be extremely stressful when you or a loved one has been treated in hospital and not received the care and attention you had hoped for.


Whilst our NHS hospitals are usually a valuable lifeline for many, unfortunately they are under huge pressure and mistakes can happen. When errors have been made or you feel that you have or are receiving sub-standard care, then it may be worth making a formal complaint.


Depending on your own personal circumstances and how the complaint has been dealt with, you may then consider making a clinical negligence claim.


How Do You Make a Complaint Directly?


It is always best to raise issues as quickly as possible so that they can be addressed promptly. Ideally this will be whilst the patient is still receiving care so that improvements can be made or errors can be rectified with immediate effect. Complaints should generally be made within 12 months of the treatment unless there are good reasons to make a later complaint.


It is sensible to try to discuss problems in person or over the phone directly with the nursing team or doctors involved. You can also ask to speak to more senior supervisors or the hospital management team if required. If you are considering making a formal complaint, you may find it helpful to talk to someone who understands the complaints process first. You can obtain free guidance and support from the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (known as “PALS”) in most NHS Trusts.


Complaints should be made directly to the hospital where the patient has been treated, or directly to the clinician if this involves private care.  Complaints about GP or dental care can be sent to the practice manager of the surgery/dental practice.


It is best to make your complaint in writing via letter or email so that you have a clear, date-stamped record of your communication. Remember to include as much detail and information as possible including NHS numbers, dates of hospital stays, wards, and names of staff if applicable. Make sure to include your contact details too.


You should receive an acknowledgement within three working days and an investigation will then take place.  Investigations can take many months and the Trust should contact you if the investigation takes longer than six months.


What Should You Do If You Are Not Satisfied With The Response?


If your complaint has been ignored, delayed or not dealt with in a way that brings you any relief or understanding then you can choose to go to the The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman . You may decide at this stage to speak to a clinical negligence solicitor who can explain the next steps and give you an honest evaluation on whether you have a civil claim.


Some questions to help you consider this might include:

  • Did you receive a prompt response to your complaint?
  • Were you invited for a meeting or telephone discussion?
  • Did you receive some answers or explanations?
  • Are you satisfied with their response?
  • What is your prognosis and recovery looking like?
  • Did you or will you need to have further treatment?
  • Has your quality of life changed due to the negligence?
  • Have you or will you suffer financially due to your treatment? Are you now unable to work? Have you had to make adaptions to your home? Do you have to provide care/require care yourself?
  • Are you still suffering with pain or discomfort?
  • What is your mental health like?
  • Are you concerned about this happening again in the future?
  • Do you feel comfortable going back to the same hospital again?
  • Could an investigation help others to avoid the problems that you experienced?

annoyed patient hospital complaint hospital negligence compensation claim

What is a Clinical Negligence Claim?


A clinical negligence claim (sometimes referred to as “medical negligence”) is when someone makes a claim against a medical practitioner, surgery, or hospital for compensation relating to errors or sub-standard care. Claims can be made for several different reasons, including misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical errors, birth injury and failure to follow procedures.


Compensation can help people to re-build their lives after they have suffered negligence, but it can also compensate them for losses and provide closure on a difficult period. These claims can also ensure that appropriate investigations take place and hopefully avoid this error happening again.


No Win, No Fee Clinical Negligence Claim


At Lamb Brooks LLP, our experienced clinical negligence lawyers accept claims on a no win/no fee basis. This means that all costs are fronted by Lamb Brooks LLP so that there is no risk to you.


If you are concerned about treatment you or a loved one has received then please get in touch to speak to one of our dedicated team of clinical negligence lawyers.


Call us on 01256 844888, email enquiries@lambbrooks.com or speak to our online chat assistant, who can take some basic information and arrange for a telephone call.


Other Articles You May Be Interested in Reading:

Highlights of Recent Clinical Negligence Cases

6 Signs That You May Have a Medical Negligence Claim

A Rise in Stillbirths During the Pandemic


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.