Last updated: 4 August 2021
The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a significant impact on our service and the organisations we receive complaints about.
Like many public services, our productivity has been affected. For the organisations we investigate, it has affected their ability to provide the information we need to carry out investigations.
These challenges mean people are waiting far longer for us to look at their complaints. We currently have a queue of over 2,500 complaints waiting to be looked at.
Because of this, we've made some changes to our service. These changes will prevent long waiting times for people who bring their complaints to us and make sure we quickly identify serious service failings.
Changes to our service
We've changed the way we handle complaints about the NHS. In most cases for these complaints, we will now only look further into the more serious cases.
- We will continue to look at all complaints brought to us.
- If we can resolve your complaint quickly, we will do so.
- If we can’t resolve it quickly and can see the impact on you was relatively minor, we will let you know that we will not be taking it any further.
- This process will apply to complaints about the NHS currently in the queue and any new ones we receive.
We will contact you if your complaint is affected by this change.
We will continue to record the data from all complaints brought to us. This will help build our understanding of public services and identify areas that need improvement.
Find out more about changes to the way we handle complaints about the NHS.
Current wait times
We are sorry that it could take several months before we can look at your case. This is because both the NHS and UK Government agencies are facing increased demand for services and it is taking time for them to respond to us. We also have more cases than usual to work through.
We are working hard to reduce this waiting time and are recruiting new caseworkers to help us work through cases. We will keep you informed by updating the information on this page.
If you have a concern or a complaint
Our helpline is open and our staff are here to offer advice and support if you have a concern or complaint. We can also signpost you to other services for support during this difficult time.
If you have not yet had a response from the organisation you are complaining about, we will not be able to consider your complaint at this stage. We understand this can be frustrating, but it will help us to deal with enquiries and complaints more quickly if you bring us your complaint at the point we are able to look at it.
To help us work through the complaints we are receiving, please do not submit a complaint to us if it is about:
- delays with complaint responses
- matters which are likely to resolve themselves within the next few weeks or months
- delays in service delivery which are non-critical and are the result of an organisation coping with COVID-19.
Please use our complaint checker tool to find out if we are the right organisation to look at your complaint and if it is ready for us.
Complaints about UK Government agencies and other public organisations still need to be referred to us by an MP. Please ask them to email your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org rather than sending a letter by post. For more information see what to do before you come to us.
Receipt of post
A small team in our Manchester office are dealing with incoming post. Any post addressed to our London office will be diverted there.
If possible, please email correspondence directly to your caseworker or to email@example.com. Please quote your case reference number if you have one. Relevant documents should be scanned and attached to the email.
Service of legal documents
We can now accept postal service of legal documents to our Manchester office. Please send to: Legal team, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Citygate, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HQ.
Note that it may take us longer to process mail as we are operating with fewer staff and mail will need to be forwarded on to staff working from home. To minimise delays when posting legal documents to us, please clearly mark them for the attention of the legal team and either email Legal@ombudsman.org.uk or telephone 0345 015 4033 to let us know to expect them.
Also note that we are unable to accept service by hand.
You may prefer to 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 14 days and it has not yet been acknowledged, please resubmit this by email as a matter of urgency
Your information rights during the pandemic
We remain committed to upholding your information rights during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes your right to ask for information about this organisation (a freedom of information request) or for your personal information (a subject access request). Our information rights staff are working remotely as our offices are closed.
We will try to continue to meet statutory deadlines for requests for digital information or electronic records, though this may not always be possible.
Read more about your information rights.
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.