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Raising concerns: guidance for patients, families and friends

What you should do if you think you or someone close to you has received poor care

How to raise a concern or make a complaint about the standard of care you, a family member or a friend have received in the NHS or at an independent care provider.

Raising and Escalating Concerns

This resource, aimed at NHS and independent sector nursing staff and student nurses, will support you to raise concerns wherever you work. It includes a decision making flowchart to help staff and students decide whether to raise a concern and when to escalate a concern.

Two nurses looking at one another

Complain about care received in the NHS

If you are unhappy with the care you have received, start by contacting the care provider to make a complaint. This gives them a chance to try to put things right.

If you're not happy about how your complaint is dealt with locally, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman to investigate

Complain about care received from another organisation

If you have a concern about an independent provider, start by contacting the provider to give them a chance to put things right.

If you're not happy with their response, you can contact the Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations for advice.

Complain about a care home or social care service

If you're unhappy with the care you've received from a care home or social care service, contact the provider first to make a complaint.

If you're unhappy with how your complaint is dealt with, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman.

Support for you

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) offers free confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters. You can contact your local service for advice on making a complaint.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator for all health and adult social care services in England, whether provided by the NHS, local authorities, private companies or voluntary organisations. The CQC can't investigate individual complaints, but they will be keen to hear about your experiences.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulates nurses and midwives. If you have a complaint about a nurse or a midwife and you have been unable to resolve it locally, you can raise your concerns with the NMC.