There is an emphasis on local resolution of complaints but, if this fails, your complaint can be investigated by the NI Commissioner for Complaints (NI Ombudsman).
It can be difficult to know who to complain to, particularly if there is more than one organisation involved. If you are unsure who you should complain to, contact the Patient and Client Council for advice.
You can complain directly to any staff involved in your treatment or care or you can contact the practice, hospital or Trust concerned. Contact the person responsible for dealing with complaints such as the practice’s complaints manager. If you are complaining about services provided by a GP, or a Health Service (HS) dentist, pharmacist or optician, complain to the practice directly or contact the Health and Social Care Board.
If you are not happy with the response you receive to your complaint in the first instance, contact the service again to have your concerns addressed. If you remain unhappy with the outcome of local resolution, then refer your complaint to the NI Commissioner for Complaints.
When you make a complaint to an organisation, the following should happen:
- All complaints should be treated confidentially
- All complaints should be acknowledged within 2-3 working days of receipt
- A full response should be received within 10 working days if your complaint is with a GP, dentist, pharmacist or optician
- A full response should be received within 20 working days if your complaint is with a hospital or community service
- If a case takes longer to resolve, you should be informed that there is a delay and be given an explanation for this delay