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Making a complaint about the NHS
You have the right to make a complaint about any aspect of NHS treatment using the NHS complaints procedure. To use the procedure you must usually be a patient or a former patient of the practitioner or institution concerned, although it is possible to complain on behalf of someone else. If you want to complain on behalf of another person, the hospital or practice must agree that you are a suitable representative.
You can use this information to complain about NHS services which have been delivered in Wales or which have been commissioned by an NHS institution within Wales but delivered outside Wales. For example, if a patient is sent by a Welsh Local Health Board for treatment to an NHS hospital in England this procedure could still be used.
From 1 April 2011 new NHS Redress Arrangements mean you may be able to combine making a complaint with claiming compensation.
These arrangements will apply If your complaint is about services provided by, or on behalf of, a Local Health Board or an National Health Service Trust in Wales.
For more information, contact your Community Health Council at www.wales.nhs.uk.
There are changes to the complaints procedure from 1 April 2011. You can get advice about what the changes will mean from your Community Health Council.
Community Health Councils (CHCs) are independent organisations which can help you make a complaint about NHS services or your NHS practitioner. For more information about CHCs, go to the website of the Board of Community Health Councils in Wales at www.communityhealthcouncils.org.uk.
Information about how to complain is also available on the Putting Things Right website at www.wales.nhs.uk.
You can also get help to make a complaint about your NHS practitioner from your local Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by e-mail, click on nearest CAB.
If you are considering taking legal action about your NHS complaint, you will need to consult a solicitor.
You should be aware that these actions are costly and complex. All family practitioners are insured and legal action will usually be contested by an insurance company. Where the legal action is about the actions of an NHS employee of a trust or Primary Care Trust or Local Health Board, the NHS institution will be responsible for deciding whether to contest the action.
From 1 April 2011 advice about the new NHS Redress Arrangements[link]may be free of charge. For more information about these arrangements contact your Community Health Council at: www.wales.nhs.uk.
If you have been injured because of negligence by the NHS and you want to consider taking legal action, see Personal injuries.
If you think that an NHS practitioner has been guilty of professional misconduct, it may be possible to complain to the practitioner's professional or regulatory body. Each body has a disciplinary committee that can investigate complaints. If a practitioner is found guilty of professional misconduct they can be prevented from practising in the future.
Information about complaining to a professional or regulatory body is available on the Health Professions Council website at: www.hpc-uk.org.