Complaints to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Quarter 1 2021-22

27 September 2021

The data published here includes data about the complaints PHSO received and the decisions made on complaints about the NHS in England and UK Government Departments and other public services in Quarter 1 (April to June) 2021.

The data shows the number of complaints we received this quarter, and the decisions we made at each stage in our process. This is based on live data and therefore some numbers may be different by the time we publish the year-end data. The number of decisions made in a specific period may differ from the number of complaints received in that same period. This is because some complaints will be received and resolved in different quarters. in one quarter and a final decision may be made in a following year. For example, a complaint might be received in March 2020 (the fourth quarter of 2020) then decided following a detailed investigation in the June 2021 (the first quarter of 2021).

A complaint may go through a number of stages before PHSO makes a final decision. We have recently made some changes to how we describe our work to accurately reflect the work we do at each stage. These stages are:  

1. Initial check

First, we do some initial checks to make sure we can deal with a complaint. This includes checking that:

  • We can look into the organisation and issue being complaining about.
  • The organisation's own complaints process has been completed.

2. Primary investigation

We then take a closer look at a complaint to decide if we should investigate. We look at several things, including:

  • Whether the person complaining had been affected personally by what happened.
  • Whether they complained (to us or an MP) within a year of knowing about the issue.
  • Whether the complainant has (or had) the option of taking legal action instead.
  • Whether there are signs that the organisation complained about potentially got things wrong that have had a negative effect that hasn't been put right.

3. Detailed investigation

We talk to all parties about the complaint and what we're going to investigate. We explain how long we think our investigation will take and we keep all parties regularly updated. We gather all the information we need, including from the complainant and the organisation complained about before we make our final decision.

We might seek advice from clinical professionals at this stage when we look into complaints about the NHS in England. 

Data for 2021: The COVID-19 pandemic had and continues to have a significant impact on our service, people who use public services, 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.

In 2020, we paused complaints about the NHS between March and July to enable health organisations to focus on the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This impact will be seen in this year and subsequent years.

We have also published the data for complaints in 2019 and 2020-21 which can be viewed here.


NHS Organisations Tables Q1 2021-22

NHS Organisations Tables Q1 2021-22 [PDF 349KB]

NHS Organisations Tables Q1 2021-22 [CSV 95KB]

NHS Organisations Tables Q1 2021-22 [ODS 100KB]

UK Government Departments and Agencies Tables Q1 2021-22 

UK Government Departments and Agencies Tables Q1 2021-22 [PDF 116KB]

UK Government Departments and Agencies Tables Q1 2021-22 [CSV 10KB]

UK Government Departments and Agencies Tables Q1 2021-22 [ODS 52KB]

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