Compliments and complaints

Your experience of NHS services

NHS North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group welcomes feedback, positive or negative, about your experience of local NHS services as this helps us to improve services for patients.

We need to know if you, your relative or someone you care for, has not received a good service. Please be assured that raising a concern or complaint will not affect your care or treatment in any way.

If you are unhappy with the treatment or service you have received from NHS services, you have the right to make a complaint, have it looked into and receive a response. You can also raise your concerns immediately by speaking with the staff involved

If you’re pleased with one of the services commissioned by the clinical commissioning group then please let us know by writing to us at the address below.

Making a complaint

Complaint Information Leaflet

Complaint Information Leaflet – Large Print

Who can complain?

Anyone can complain about NHS services or treatment they have received, or if they have been affected by the actions or decisions of an NHS organisation, or primary care practitioner. If you are unable to complain yourself, someone can act on your behalf with your written consent.

How do I make a complaint?

The NHS complaints procedure aims to resolve complaints quickly, at source. This is called ‘local resolution’ and means you should complain to the organisation that provided the service you’re unhappy with first.

You can make your complaint in writing, by email or verbally. If you make your complaint verbally, you will be asked to sign and return a written record to ensure that you agree with the contents. Should you prefer to meet with our Complaints Team to discuss your complaint, this can be arranged, though please note that such meetings are by appointment only.

Visit the NHS Choices website here to find out more about the NHS complaints procedure.

When should I make a complaint?

A complaint should be made within 12 months from the date it occurred or when it came to your attention. In some cases if there is good reason why you could not complain sooner and it is still possible to investigate your complaint, it may be possible to waive the time limit.

What happens if my complaint involves a number of different organisations?

If your complaint involves more than one NHS organisation, or the NHS and social care you only need to make one complaint and you will receive a single, coordinated response. If any part of the joint complaint relates to a primary care service, (that is a GP, dentist, pharmacist, or optician), the complaint will need to be raised with NHS England – their details are provided under the section related to them.

Where do I send my complaint?

If your complaint is about a hospital, community or mental health service you should send this to the NHS organisation involved.

If your complaint is about a GP practice, dental practice, community pharmacy or optician you should send this to the practice concerned.

If your complaint is about a CCG commissioning or funding decision you should send this to:

NHS North Durham CCG

The Lavender Centre



County Durham



Telephone 0191 3898600

North Durham CCG has contracted with North East Commissioning Service (NECS) for them to manage the complaints function on their behalf. They will therefore need to pass a copy of your concerns to NECS to investigate on their behalf. If you are not happy for these details to be shared with NECS you must make it clear at the time of raising your complaint that you do not give consent for the details to be shared.

What if I don’t want to raise my complaint with the service involved?

Some complainants prefer to send their complaint to the commissioner of NHS services. This is fine, however, the commissioner will consider which organisation is best placed to address your concerns. The health care provider (for example the hospital or district nursing team) will normally be given the opportunity to respond to your complaint.

Investigation and improving services

When you submit a complaint, it is helpful if you could be clear what you would like to achieve as a result of making your complaint, so that the NHS can try to resolve the matter to your satisfaction.

Your complaint will be fully investigated in a manner that is fair to both complainants and staff. If failings are identified during the investigation, any necessary changes will be made to improve the quality of services. You will also be advised in the written response to your complaint of any service improvements.

What happens if I am unhappy with the response?

We aim to ensure that all complaints are handled well and that appropriate action is taken to resolve a concern. We will do everything that we feel is appropriate in order to try and resolve matters to your satisfaction.

If, however, you remain unhappy after your complaint has been addressed, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to review your complaint. You should do this within twelve months from the date on which the subject matter of the complaint occurred.

The PHSO can be contacted:

Helpline : 0345 015 4033
In writing: Ombudsman at MillbankTower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP

Further information about the Ombudsman is also available on their website

NHS North Durham CCG

We are the commissioner of local hospital, community and mental health services and you can send your complaint to us about these services. However, our Clinical Quality Team will, with your consent, need to forward your complaint to the relevant provider organisation, who will then investigate and respond to your complaint. As commissioners we will take your complaint seriously and will ask the provider to give us a copy of the response to your complaint on conclusion of the investigation.

NHS England

NHS England is the commissioner of primary care services (such as GP and dental practices) and, if you prefer, you can send your complaint about these services to NHS England at the address below:

Tel: 0300 311 22 33
In writing: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT

Who can help me to make a complaint?

The North East Independent Complaints Advocacy (ICA) team can guide and support you though the complaints process. They can help you put your complaint in writing and attend meetings with you. However, the ICA team does not investigate complaints.

Support to residents of all other areas of the North East is available from the North East ICA who can be contacted on 0808 802 3000.

For further information on the NHS complaints procedure, please click here.


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