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Compliments and complaints

Making a complaint to the NHS in North East and North Cumbria

We welcome feedback about NHS services, both positive and negative.  If you are unhappy with the treatment or service that you, a relative or someone you care for has received from your local NHS, you have the right to make a complaint and have it looked into, and to get a response.

NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) is the commissioner of NHS services in our region. As a commissioner of services, we assess the health and care needs of the population of our region, plan the services that we think are needed, and commission (pay for) these services from a range of providers, typically NHS Foundation Trusts (who provide hospital and community health services), GP practices, dentists, optometrists, and pharmacists.

As an NHS commissioner we are also responsible for assessing the needs of certain individuals and funding services to meet those needs. These include assessing Individual Funding Requests for certain clinical treatments not routinely offered by the NHS, and assessing the needs of those eligible to receive All Age Continuing Care support.

Click here to access the ICBs complaint leaflet.

In the majority of cases, complaints about the care you have received can be handled by the provider of that care. However, you are also entitled to complain to the ICB as the commissioner of these services if that is your preference. 

Complaining to the commissioner may be the right option if you are not comfortable complaining directly to your healthcare provider.  However, the healthcare provider will normally be given the opportunity to investigate and respond to your complaint directly. In cases where the ICB is the commissioner, the provider will be asked to share a copy of the complaint response with the ICB for monitoring purposes.

Please note, if you have already complained to your healthcare provider, the commissioner will not be able to re-investigate the same concerns.  If you remain unhappy following a response to your complaint, you should contact either your healthcare provider or the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO), see below for more information about the PHSO.

The ICB will retain personal information for the purposes of a complaint investigation only. To help us make improvements to the services you receive, anonymised information about your complaint may be shared as part of our reporting process. Should you have any concerns about these arrangements please contact us.

A service provided by a GP practice, dentist, pharmacist or optometrist

If you have a concern, complaint or compliment about a doctor (GP), dentist, pharmacy or optometrist, please contact the provider directly in the first instance.

If you would prefer not to approach the provider about the complaint, then please contact the ICB as below, but please note that the ICB will still need to contact the provider for them to investigate your complaint. We are also experiencing significant delays in processing primary care complaints and you may be able to get your complaint investigated much sooner if your complaint is sent directly to the GP practice, dentist, pharmacist and optometrist.

Email: necsu.pccomplaints@nhs.net

Tel: 0191 512 8277

Post: Primary Care Complaints Team, North East and North Cumbria ICB, Riverside House, Goldcrest  Way, Newburn Riverside Business Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE15 8NY

For help finding your nearest GP, dentist, pharmacist or optometrist, you can use the online search facility on the NHS UK website.

We aim to make sure all complaints are handled well and that appropriate action is taken to the complainant’s satisfaction. You can make your complaint in writing, by email, via a complaint form or verbally. If you make your complaint verbally, you will be asked to sign and return a written record to ensure that you agree with the contents. 

Your complaint will be acknowledged within three working days of receipt and fully investigated in a manner that is fair both to you and the staff involved. If failings are identified during the investigation, these will help us to improve the quality of local health services. You will receive a written response to your complaint which will include information on the service improvements we have identified.

To find out more about the NHS complaints procedure please visit the NHS Choices website complaints page. The complaints information leaflet also provides information about the complaints process.

We have asked the North of England Commissioning Support Unit (NECS) to manage complaints on behalf of the ICB; therefore, complaints which are received by the ICB are routinely forwarded to the NECS Complaints Team.  If you are not happy for your complaint to be shared with NECS, you must make this clear at the time of raising your complaint. 

Face to face meetings can be arranged by appointment with the NECS Complaints Team.

The care that you or your family receive will not be compromised as a result of raising a complaint/concern.

Information about complaints is available in other languages and formats upon request.

You can raise your concerns immediately by speaking to the provider of care involved.  This might give you the response you require without having to take the matter further.

You can also contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who provide a range of advice and guidance and can help to resolve concerns or problems about services and providing advice on the complaints process.  More information about PALS is available here - What is PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)? - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Anyone can complain about NHS services or treatment they have received or if they have been affected by the actions or decisions of an NHS organisation or primary care provider (such as a GP practice, dentist, optometrist, or pharmacy). If you are unable to complain yourself, someone can act on your behalf with your consent.

A complaint should be made within 12 months from the date the issue occurred or when it came to your attention. Extenuating circumstances will be taken into consideration.

If your complaint involves more than one NHS organisation or the NHS and social care (provided by the local authority), you can make your complaint to just one of the organisations involved and they will liaise with the other organisations and arrange for you to receive a single, coordinated response.

Who can help me make a complaint?

Independent Complaints Advocacy (ICA) services can guide and support you through the complaints process.  They can help you put your complaint in writing and attend meetings with you; however, the ICA Team does not investigate complaints.

Cumberland, Westmorland & Furness, Redcar & Cleveland, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough 

People First

Telephone: 03003 038037

Email: admin@wearepeoplefirst.co.uk


Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside

Carers Federation

Telephone: 0808 802 3000

Email: ica@carersfederation.co.uk



Your Voice Counts

Telephone:  0800 048 7856

Email: nhsadvocacy@yvc.org.uk




Telephone: 0300 303 1660

Email:  helpline@voiceability.org



Stockton ICA

Telephone: 0808 1729553

Email: sica@pcp.uk.net




Telephone: 0300 3031660

Email: helpline@voiceability.org

If you remain unhappy with how your complaint has been handled following the conclusion of local resolution, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to review your complaint.  You can contact the PHSO at the address below:

Millbank Tower

Tel: 0345 015 4033

Email: phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk
Website: www.ombudsman.org.uk

Healthwatch is an organisation set up to get your opinion and find out what matters to you to help make sure your views shape the support you need. Local Healthwatch provides information about access to services and choices available to help people by taking more control of their own health, treatment and care.

For more information go to your local Healthwatch website.
For general enquiries call 03000 683 000

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