Complaining about our service

This page explains what you need to do if you are unhappy with the decision we made on your complaint, or with the way that we dealt with you.

We receive thousands of complaints each year about the NHS in England, UK government departments and other public organisations. We consider each complaint very carefully and aim to give the best possible service to everyone. We realise, however, that not everyone will be happy with the decision we make on their complaints or with the way that we dealt with it. Because of that we have a review service, which, under certain circumstances, can look into your concerns about our decisions or handling.

What is the review service?

The review service consists of a dedicated internal team of caseworkers. They review concerns about our decisions and service. The team is independent of our Operations and Investigations Directorate. They will not have had any previous involvement with your case.

The service also has a number of External Reviewers. Our External Reviewers are not employees of PHSO. Our criteria for referring a case for external review are:

  • an external perspective is required on a case
  • complexity and/or sensitivity of a case
  • We also may consider referring a case to an External Reviewer if the complaint concerns complaints about the service received from members of our internal review process, the Ombudsman or Managing Director.

How and when should I request a review?

We ask you to put your concerns to us within three months of when we sent you our decision on your original complaint.

If you are unhappy with the decision we made on your original complaint, we ask you to meet one or more of the review criteria. These criteria are:

  • we made our decision based on inaccurate facts that could change our decision;
  • you have new and relevant information that was not previously available and which might change our decision;
  • we overlooked or misunderstood parts of your complaint or did not take account of relevant information, which could change our decision.

To make it easier to provide the information we need, we recommend that you complete our form 'What to do if you think our decision on your complaint is wrong.'

If you are not happy with the way we dealt with you personally, for example you might feel that we took too long to deal with your complaint, or did not update you when we said we would, you can either:

  • contact the member of staff who was dealing with your original complaint or their manager, or
  • contact our internal review service – their contact details are on this page.

To help us review your concerns, you may wish to complete the following form:

What happens next?

Please send us your completed form and any supporting documents by email or post, keeping a copy for your own records:  

complaintsaboutphso@ombudsman.org.uk

The Review Team
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
Millbank
London
SW1P 4QP

If you are asking for a review of our decisions or handling, we will write to you to let you know whether you have met the review criteria and what will happen next.

If you are complaining about how we dealt with you, we will write to you to let you know what will happen next.

Timeframes

If we have accepted your request for review, we aim to respond within at most 4 months. We will usually get back to you much sooner than that.

If, having reviewed your concerns, we agree that our decision about your original complaint was wrong, or that we did not deal with you properly, we will apologise and tell you what we will do to fix things.

What happens if you are unhappy with the review response?

Once you have received our response, you have reached the end of the complaints process and we will not be able to respond further. If you still have concerns, we ask you to put them to us in writing. We will consider everything that is sent to us, but will only respond if we decide the matters raised are new.

The way to challenge our decision is through the courts using judicial review. We are unable to give you advice about this. You might need to get your own independent or legal advice on how to do this.

Would you like more information or help from us?

Please contact us if you need more information. We can:  

  • give you advice on which review form to use;
  • help you complete the review forms;
  • provide the forms in other formats, such as large print.

By email:  complaintsaboutphso@ombudsman.org.uk
By telephone: 0300 061 4076
By fax: 0300 061 4000