This guide explains how to complain about different health or social care services in Bucks.
Different health and social care services in Bucks are run by different organisations. Each has its own arrangements and contacts for complaints. It is important you know which service you want to complain about. You can find more information and contacts details for our main local services in the guides below.
If you don’t know who you need to complain to please contact us.
A typical complaint
Your complaint is likely to be dealt with more quickly if you follow the correct procedures.
Complaints procedures are usually broken into stages. You should start at stage 1 and move to the next stage if your concern isn’t sorted or you’re unhappy with the response.
Stage 1 - speak to staff
If you feel comfortable doing so, it’s always best to mention your concern to the member of staff you are dealing with or their manager. They may be able to sort things out for you.
Stage 2 - start a formal complaint
If you don’t try stage 1 or it doesn’t work for you, use the organisation’s formal complaints procedures. Tell them exactly what the problem was and give as much information as you can, including dates and times.
Stage 3 - escalate the complaint
If the complaints procedures don’t sort out your problem, write to the senior managers at the organisation or to the Clinical Commissioning Group. You could also write to your local councillor.
Stage 4 - contact the Ombudsman
If you are still not satisfied, write to either the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman or the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, whichever is appropriate.
You can only write to the Ombudsman if you have first used all the official complaints processes.
There are also the options of
- complaining to the body that regulates the particular health or social care professional
- taking legal action, for example for clinical negligence, discrimination or breach of human rights. This can be expensive so it’s sensible to get legal advice first
- getting help with your complaint.
Always mention your concern or complaint as soon as possible. Some organisations may not accept complaints made 12 months after the problem occurred.
Help making a complaint about NHS services
If you need help making a complaint about an NHS service you can get support from The Advocacy People:
The Advocacy People (formerly called SEAP) is a charity that gives independent and free advice about making complaints.
In Buckinghamshire, The Advocacy People can help if you are unhappy with the service you, or someone else, has received from the NHS. This is called Independent Health Complaints Advocacy or IHCA).
Initial enquiries are made at the national level and then routed to the local body.
0330 440 9000
The Advocacy People, PO Box 375, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 9HU
Who can you complain to?
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust – BHT runs the hospitals at Stoke Mandeville, Wycombe and Amersham, including outpatients. The Trust also runs community health services in health centres, schools and patients’ own homes.
Buckinghamshire County Council – BCC provides social care services for adults and children. It funds some people who live in care homes.
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – FHFT runs the hospitals at Frimley Park, Wexham Park and Heatherwood.
Oxford Health Foundation Trust – OHFT runs mental health services for children and adults in Buckinghamshire.
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust – SCAS runs the ambulance and air ambulance service and also the 111 telephone service, non-emergency patient transport, and transport of medical supplies.
FedBucks – FedBucks is a federation of GP practices in Buckinghamshire. They run the GP Out of Hours Service and the Urgent Treatment Centre at Wycombe Hospital.
Milton Keynes Urgent Care Services CIC – runs the Urgent Care Centre at Milton Keynes Hospital.
Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – MKUFT runs Milton Keynes University Hospital.
Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group – The CCG doesn’t provide any services, but it decides which organisations will run local health services and writes a contract for them to do so (called ‘commissioning’). The services commissioned include planned and emergency hospital care, rehabilitation, GPs, most community services, and mental health and learning disability services. You can complain to the CCG about any of the services they commission, but it’s usually best to complain first to the organisation that is providing the service.
You can complain about an individual doctor, nurse, midwife, pharmacist, dentist, social worker or other professional. Under the law, each health and social care professional that looks after you must provide a good standard of care. There are different regulators for the different professions and they have complaints procedures.