Like many other organisations, we have been actively monitoring the development of coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on our work. We have also been closely following Government guidance to make sure we look after the health and wellbeing of everyone who works here.
Impact of coronavirus on NHS complaints
Coronavirus is putting enormous pressure on the NHS. This means that NHS organisations are less able to respond to queries and provide us with information.
Having considered the situation carefully, we have decided that we should not place additional burdens on the health service during a time of national emergency. From Thursday 26 March, we will not be accepting any new health complaints or progressing existing ones which involve contact with the health service.
We will keep the situation under close review and will resume our consideration of health service complaints as soon as possible.
We will continue to progress complaints about UK Government departments and agencies for the time being, although we recognise that many of their resources are also stretched and will keep this under review.
Read our information for complaint handling teams.
Why we are doing this
Many organisations have asked the Ombudsman to delay investigations while they focus on dealing with the coronavirus crisis. Medical staff need to focus on caring for patients, and complaint handling teams are being moved to other frontline services. This is also true for clinical advisers.
The coronavirus pandemic presents a unique challenge to the health service, and we want to make sure that our work does not prevent vital services from being delivered. We ask for your patience during this time.
We will take into account any delay caused by the current situation. If your health complaint is in time as of 26 March 2020, we will continue to treat it as in time when our normal service is back up and running.
You will need to come to us within two months of our normal service resuming so please check for updates regularly.
To safeguard the wellbeing of our staff we have decided to close our offices in Manchester and London.
This means we will no longer be able to receive post from 24 March 2020. Post will be kept securely and we will be in touch with individual complainants whose cases are affected. Our staff will continue to work remotely.
Our helpline is up and running as normal.
Service of legal documents
We are no longer able to accept postal service of any legal documents. Please email all legal correspondence to Legal@ombudsman.org.uk.
If you have sent any correspondence with the intention of service by post in the last 7 days and it has not yet been acknowledged, please resubmit this by email as a matter of urgency.
The situation continues to change rapidly and we will provide further updates as we respond to it.
Please continue to check our website or follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.