Private healthcare

Unfortunately by law we cannot look into complaints about privately-funded healthcare services. This includes care provided by Private Patient Units within NHS Trusts

Mixed private and NHS care

We can look at complaints about healthcare services provided in a private hospital if the NHS paid for it.

We can also look at complaints about NHS-funded healthcare services which privately-funded patients get in an NHS hospital.

Some NHS Trusts have Private Patient Units within their hospitals. We cannot look at complaints about care provided within these units unless it is paid for by the NHS.

If you think your treatment falls into this category, you will need to complete the NHS complaints procedure before we can look at your complaint. If you're not sure about this, please phone us on 0345 015 4033.

Private healthcare only

If you have a complaint only about privately-funded healthcare services, you should complain to the healthcare provider first.

If you remain dissatisfied when they have replied to your complaint, you may be able to go to the Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS). They have a Complaints Code of Practice which includes an independent adjudication service (a service to help sort out disputes) as the final stage of the complaint process.

The majority of independent healthcare providers and some NHS Trust Private Patient Units subscribe to the ISCAS service. The service is managed by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). You can find out whether the organisation you have a complaint about is a subscriber and get their complaint forms on the ISCAS website.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will take note of your complaint and if appropriate use it as part of their inspection process. The CQC is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. They inspect both NHS organisations and independent providers. They do not have an active role in dealing with complaints. 

Private dental or eye care