How to make a complaint about health or social care in Southwark

Are you unhappy with your experience of health or social care services in Southwark? Making a complaint is a way to share your experience, get an explanation from the service, and suggest what could be improved in the future.
Man holding a sign outside a hospital that says 'Speak Up'

When should I complain?

As soon as possible. Complaints should be made within 12 months of the date of the event that you're complaining about.

Who do I complain to?

There are many different providers of healthcare in Southwark. When you want to make a complaint, you normally complain directly to the provider of the service. However, you can complain to the organisation that funds them instead.

If you are unsure how to complain directly to the provider, you can ask them to give you a copy of their complaints procedure. This will tell you who to contact, how they will handle your complaint, and how they will learn from your complaint.

How do I complain about primary care (GPs, dentists, pharmacies and opticians)?

You can either complain directly to the provider (which may be better for informal and quick resolution) which would be the Practice Manager or Complaints Manager, or you can complain to NHS England, which funds these services. Complaints cannot be raised with NHS England if they have been made to the provider first.

NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT

0300 311 2233

How do I complain about local hospitals?

You should contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (better known as PALS) at the hospital. They can discuss your complaint with you, and will be able to guide you on what to do next. If you want to go straight to making a formal complaint, see the links below.

Guy's and St Thomas' Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Main entrance, St Thomas' Hospital OR Ground floor, Tower wing (main reception area), Guy's Hospital.

020 7188 8801

King's College Hospital Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Patient Advice and Liaison Service, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9RS

020 3299 3601

South London and Maudsley Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

0800 731 2864 (Option 2)

How do I complain about ambulance services?

Complain to the Patient Experiences Department at the London Ambulance Service.

020 3069 0240

How do I complain about non-emergency patient transport for hospitals?

Patients should complain to the PALS office at the hospital where the transport was arranged (see above).

How do I complain about community health services?

Community health services include physiotherapy, podiatry (foot health), district nursing and health visiting, as well as the Urgent Care Centre. These services are mainly provided in Southwark by GSTT (see above) but check with your specific service if you are unsure.

How do I complain about mental health services?

In Southwark, mental health services are provided by the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust. Find out to contact their PALS or complaints department above.

How do I complain about NHS 111 OR the GP out-of-hours service (SELDOC)?

In South East London, NHS 111 services are provided by the London Ambulance Service (LAS). See above for their contact details. For out-of-hours GP services:

South East London Clinical Commissioning Group (SEL CCG)

If you have a complaint relating to the way an NHS service has been commissioned, or you have been directly affected by a commissioning decision, you can contact the CCG via email or phone.

 0800 328 9712

Can I get help to make my complaint?

If you need support to make a complaint you can contact NHS Complaints Advocacy at POhWER. You can contact them at any stage in the process.They can provide you with an advocate; a person who will help you to complain, and make sure that you understand your options.

0300 456 2370

The NHS Complaints Advocacy section of the POhWER website has resources to support you to make a complaint by yourself. These are available in a range of languages, as well as Easy Read and large print formats. Click here to find out more.

What if I’m unhappy with the result of my complaint?

If you are unhappy with the outcome of a complaint about any NHS provider, you can appeal to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

You can only contact the Ombudsman once the organisation you complained to first have completed their response, or if it has not been sorted out after 6 months.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, London SW1P 4QP

0345 015 4033

How do I complain about social care?

If you would like to complain about a care home or domiciliary care (home care) service commissioned by Southwark Council, you can contact the specific provider and ask them about their complaints process. If you would like to complain about a social care service provided by Southwark Council:

020 7525 3977

If you are unhappy with the response to your social care complaint, you can raise it with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. Click here to find out more.

Currently there is not a free advocacy service for social care complaints. However, you can ask a trusted person to support you, make calls or write letters on your behalf, and accompany you to any meetings.

Tips and tools for making a complaint

Healthwatch England have worked with Citizens Advice to produce a series of guides to help you make a complaint or raise a concern about any provider of health or social care. There are tips and tools such as flowcharts, letter templates, and other practical resources to support you to make an effective complaint.

Click here for help to make a healthcare complaint

Click here for help to make a social care complaint

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