29. Apr, 2016

Unhappy about your GP service?

How to complain if you're unhappy with your GP or GP surgery

spread the word:
email & print:

Join our campaign!

We want to ensure that when you speak up, staff in public services listen and act on your concerns. That's why we want the Government to give people the ability to share their good and bad experiences of GPs, hospitals, schools and care homes to improve our local services.

We all have the right to good health care. If you’re unhappy with your GP or GP surgery, you can complain to them directly, or to the NHS in your region. 

spread the word:
email & print:

Your feedback is important in making sure that the NHS provides the best service it can. Some problems can be dealt with on the spot if you’re comfortable raising them informally with staff.

If you’d like to complain, ask for a copy of the surgery’s complaints procedure, and use this to help you. 

Keep a record of who you speak or write to, and on what date. If you raise your complaint verbally, make sure you write down everything you discuss.

Included in your formal complaint should be the following:

  • What or who you’re complaining about
  • What happened and when
  • What you’d like to be done to resolve your complaint
  • How to contact you

The NHS Constitution says that you have a right to have your complaint properly investigated. Your complaint should be acknowledged within three working days, and you should also be told about the outcome of the investigation. 

If you’ve been harmed by negligent treatment, you have a right to compensation.

To have your complaint investigated, you usually need to complain within 12 months of the event happening, or as soon as you first become aware of the issue you want to complain about. 

The time limit can be extended in special circumstances.

Top tip

Make sure you ask for a copy of your surgery's complaints procedure and be sure to follow it. This is the best way to ensure your complaint will be dealt with promptly and appropriately. 

Depending on where you live in the UK, the NHS complaints process may be slightly different. 

If you don't want to complain directly to your GP surgery, you need to contact the NHS in your region:

NHS Advocacy can give you free, confidential and independent support with making your complaint. The service is provided by your local authority. 

To find contact information in your local area, contact your local authority’s customer services department.

Your local Healthwatch can also signpost you to organisations that can help with your complaint.


If you're not happy with the way in which your GP practice has dealt with your complaint, you can refer it to the ombudsman to investigate further. 

If you're unhappy with the final response from your GP practice you can take your complaint to the ombudsman

The ombudsman is independent of the NHS and free to use. It can help resolve your complaint, and tell the NHS how to put things right if it has got them wrong. 

The ombudsman only has legal powers to investigate certain complaints. You must have received a final response from your GP practice before the ombudsman can look at your complaint.

The ombudsman will generally not look into your complaint if it happened more than 12 months ago, unless there are exceptional circumstances. 

We advise making your complaint in writing using any designated forms provided by the ombudsman. However, you may also be able to email and phone the ombudsman about your complaint.  

The ombudsman you contact will differ depending on which region you live in. 

Source: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-complain-if-youre-unhappy-with-your-gp-or-gp-surgery


Letter templates are available from: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/letter

Gp complaint letter template is available at: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/letter?utf8=%E2%9C%93&letter_category=complain&subtopic=397713


Problems with private healthcare

If you have a problem with your private healthcare provider or have an issue with your medical insurer, you may be able to seek redress. Read our guides to find out how to navigate the complaints processes for private healthcare providers.

Long term Care:

If you’re unhappy with your or your relative’s care provider, you have the right to complain but this can be difficult. Our guides help you understand your rights and explain what you can do to resolve the situation amicably.

View all Long term care articles


FYI: The top ten letters on the which website are as follows:

Letter to reclaim PPI for free

Reclaiming Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) can be a quick and easy process. Use our template letter to send to your financial provider to get your money back.