Help to make a complaint

Making a complaint might feel daunting and confusing, but it's important that you speak up to help services improve so other people don't go through the same thing.

Our guides will help you through every step of the way and help you to understand your options.

healthwatch deryshire employees three femals chatting in meidcal setting

Whilst we use your feedback to improve services, we have no powers to investigate individual formal complaints. We are also not an advocacy service and so cannot make a complaint to a service on your behalf.

Should I make a complaint?

It's important to tell health and care services when they aren’t working as well as they should be. They can use your experiences as lessons and to improve things for others.

You may worry that if you make a complaint, the standard of your care might get worse, or you might be treated differently. You are not alone - a lot of people don't make a complaint because of these worries.

We can inform change, but only you can make it happen by telling services about your experiences of health and care.  

If your complaint is an immediate or high-risk situation, such as you or your loved one are not receiving enough care, there is a risk to your safety, or you have suffered from discrimination, you should report the problem immediately.

Before you make a complaint, it is helpful to think about what you want to achieve. This can include:

  • Getting access to the care you need
  • To improve the service, so other people don’t have the same experience as you
  • To get an explanation of what went wrong and an apology
  • To get someone disciplined or prosecuted
  • To get compensation

Tips on making a complaint

Your complaint is likely to be dealt with more quickly if you follow the correct process.

Throughout the complaints process you should be treated fairly, politely and with respect and there should be no impact on your care or treatment as a result of making a complaint.

Take a look at the different steps to the complaints process:

Who do I complain to?

When making a complaint you can choose to complain to the service directly or the commissioner of the service. Commissioners decide which organisation will run local health services, and pay for the service or care you received. You cannot complain to both the service and the commissioner of the service at the same time.

Who can support me with making a complaint?

If you’re thinking about making a complaint it’s important to know that you can get support to guide you through the process. 

Advocacy services are independent of the NHS and local council. They are able to provide support in various ways depending on your circumstances. This may be by supporting you to write your complaint, attending meetings with you, and helping to review any information you are given. Take a look at some of the organisations below that offer free and impartial support with complaints in Derbyshire. 

Cloverleaf Advocacy

Tel: 01924 454875


For more information visit their website

Citizens Advice 

Tel: 0808 278 7954

For more information visit their website

Age UK Derby & Derbyshire

Tel: 01773 766922

Advice Line: 0800 678 1602 

For more information visit their website

One Advocacy (Derby City)

Tel: 01332 228748


For more information visit their website

I’ve made a complaint, what happens next?

When your complaint has been submitted, you should receive some form of acknowledgement which can be verbal or in writing. The service will also give you information on how they plan to look into the issue for you, and how long you should expect the process to take. 

You should be kept informed of the how the complaint is progressing and be told of any outcomes following your complaint. This could be how they have solved the issues for you, or how they plan on doing things differently in the future. 

Hopefully, your complaint should now be resolved. If this hasn’t been resolved however you can choose to complain to the organisation which commissions the service, or to take legal action. Take a look at the information below to learn more.

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