Complaints

This guide summarises the key aspects of the NHS complaints procedure in each of the UK nations

MDDUS | Supportive doctor consulting
  • Date: 19 October 2022
Doctors have professional obligations in relation to complaint handling. These include responding promptly, fully and honestly to complaints and providing an apology when appropriate. Doctors must not allow a patient’s complaint to adversely affect the care or treatment they provide or arrange.

This medical advisory guide summarises the key aspects of the NHS complaints procedure in each of the UK nations. While the complaints handling process aims to achieve local resolution of concerns, complainants have the right to seek an independent review of their complaints by the respective health services Ombudsman for each UK nation. Independent healthcare providers should have their own complaints procedures, which may be similar in structure and purpose.

Being the subject of a complaint can be an extremely stressful time in a doctor’s professional career. Our guide offers practical general advice about responding to a complaint, and signposts where to get further help and support. If you are named in a complaint, it is usually advisable to seek appropriate medicolegal advice as early into the process as possible.

This guide is a useful tool for anyone wanting to learn more about responding to a complaint, as well as offering general advice and support for those personally involved. As a benefit of membership with MDDUS, the guide is free for you to download and refer back to whenever needed.

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

MDDUS map England

Responding to complaints England

A guide on responding to complaints for our medical members who are practising in England.

MDDUS | Northern Ireland

Responding to complaints Northern Ireland

A guide on responding to complaints for our medical members who are practising in Northern Ireland.

MDDUS | Scotland

Responding to complaints Scotland

A guide on responding to complaints for our medical members who are practising in Scotland.

MDDUS | Wales

Responding to complaints Wales

A guide on responding to complaints for our medical members who are practising in Wales.

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