Do you have concerns about the quality of your healthcare?

The services hospitals and GPs provide for prostate cancer patients can differ across the UK. If you feel you are not getting the best healthcare, there are things you can do to change this.  

You have a right to make a complaint about any NHS care, treatment or service. One of the first things you can do is to request a second opinion: 

  • Speak to another healthcare professional about your concerns and get a second opinion.  
  • This could be from a different doctor or nurse at your GP surgery, or another hospital Consultant or Clinical Nurse Specialist. 

But if you are not comfortable doing this, or if you are still unhappy with any part of your healthcare, you can make an official complaint.  

We’ve listed the steps you can follow below. The parties involved and the steps required differ depending on where you’re living. You might use one or more of the steps listed. 

Complaints about a GP service 

Step 1. Follow your GP surgery’s complaint process. All GP surgeries will have one of these. You can ask at the reception or find it on your GP surgery’s website. 

Step 2. Make a complaint to NHS England. You can find out about their complaints process on their website or call them at 0300 311 22 33. 

Step 3. Contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. If you’re unhappy about how your complaint has been dealt with after step 2, you can complete a complaints form on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website or call them at 0345 015 4033. 

Complaints about a hospital service 

Step 1. Make a complaint to your hospital’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). You can find out how to contact the PALS department on your hospital’s website. They will tell you how to go through their complaints process. 

Step 2. Contact your local Integrated Care Board (ICB). ICBs replaced clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in the NHS in England from 1 July 2022 and arrange for the provision of health services within a local area. Each ICB will have a slightly different complaints process that can be found on their website.  

Step 3. Contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. If you’re unhappy about how your complaint has been dealt with after step 2, you can complete a complaints form on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website or call them at 0345 015 4033. 

Healthwatch England 

Healthwatch England is an independent statutory body who have the power to make sure NHS leaders and other decision makers listen to your feedback and improve standards of care in England. 

They can support you in making a complaint. You can find your local Healthwatch service here. 

Complaints about a GP service 

Step 1. Follow your GP surgery’s complaint process. You can ask at the reception or find it on your GP surgery’s website. The GP surgery should try to resolve your complaint. They will acknowledge your complaint and will have a set timeframe to provide you with a written response which should address your issues of complaint. If the GP surgery cannot provide you with a timely response, they should inform you of reasons for any delay. It is best to make your complaint as quickly as possible as the GP surgery will have a timeframe within which a complaint should be raised to them. 

Step 2.Contact the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman. If you’re unhappy with the GP surgery’s response or about how your complaint has been dealt with by your GP surgery, you can complete an online complaints form on the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman’s website or call them at 0800 34 34 24. You should bring your complaint to the Ombudsman within six months of receiving your response from the GP surgery. 

Complaints about a hospital service 

Step 1. Make a complaint to your Local Health Trust. You will find details of how to complain on the Trust’s website or by contacting the Trust’s complaints department. The Trust should try to resolve your complaint. They will acknowledge your complaint and provide you with a written response to address your complaint. If a timely response is not possible, they should inform you of the reasons for any delay. It is best to make your complaint as quickly as possible as the Trust will have a timeframe within which a complaint should be raised to them. 

Step 2.Contact the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman. If you’re unhappy with the Trust’s response or about how your complaint has been dealt with by your Local Health Trust, you can complete an online complaints form on the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman’s website or call them at 0800 34 34 24. You should bring your complaint to the Ombudsman within six months of receiving your response from the Trust.  

Firstly, if you are unsure about a diagnosis, you should request a second opinion. This could be with a different doctor or nurse at your GP surgery, or another hospital Consultant or Clinical Nurse Specialist.  

 If you are unhappy with any part of your healthcare, you have the right to make a complaint.  

Complaints about a GP service 

Step 1. Follow your GP surgery’s complaints procedure. All GP surgeries have a two-stage complaints procedure. You can ask at the reception or find it on your GP surgery’s website. 

Step 2.Contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman if you’re unhappy with the GP surgery’s response or about how your complaint has been dealt with by your GP surgery. You can complete a complaints form on the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman website, or call them at 0800 377 7330. 

Complaints about a hospital service 

Step 1. You can complain in person at the place where you have received care, treatment or advice. 

Step 2. You can make a complaint to your local NHS Health Board by phone, in writing, by email or by using the online complaints form. Each local health board has a two-stage complaints procedure that can be found on their website.  

Step 3. Contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman if you’re unhappy with the Health Board’s response or about how your complaint has been dealt with. You can complete a complaints form on their website, or call them at 0800 377 7330. 

Other services available in Scotland:  

Complaints about a GP service 

Step 1.  Follow your GP surgery’s complaint process. All GP surgeries will have one of these. You can ask at the reception or find it on your GP surgery’s website. 

Step 2. Make a complaint to your Local Health Board. If you’re unhappy about how your complaint has been dealt with by your GP, make a complaint to your Local Health Board.

Step 2. Contact the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. If you’re unhappy about how your complaint has been dealt by your local Health board, you can contact the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. You can complete a complaints form on their website, or call them at 0300 790 0203. 

Complaints about a hospital service 

Step 1. Make a complaint to your Local Health Board. You will be able to find the details of how to complain on each Health Board’s website.  

Step 2. Contact the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. If you’re unhappy about how your complaint has been dealt with by your local Health Board, you can complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. You can complete a complaints form on their website, or call them at 0300 790 0203. 

Other services available in Wales:  

  • You can get more advice on how to complain about NHS services in Wales from your local Community Health Council (CHC). They can give you advice and help you though the complaints process. From April 2023, Community Health Councils will be replaced by new Citizen Voice Body for health and social care. 

Other services that can help

There are other independent and charitable organisations that can help you when making a complaint:  

  • Citizens Advice can give you more information on how to make complaints to the NHS. You can visit their website or call them at 03444 111 444. 
  • VoiceAbility is an independent charity and one of the UK’s largest providers of advocacy and involvement services. 
  • Maggie’s is a charity providing free cancer support and information in centres across the UK and online.  
  • To make a complaint about private healthcare, you need to use the complaints procedure of the private healthcare provider. 

If you have any questions about prostate problems, our Specialist Nurses are here to help and provide free, unbiased and confidential support and information. You can contact them on 0800 074 8383 or through email, live chat and WhatsApp. 

You might find it helpful to talk about your healthcare problem at your local Prostate Cancer Support Group. At support groups, people get together to share their experiences of prostate cancer and advice. someone else may have had the same problem as you and give you their advice. There are hundreds of prostate cancer support groups in the UK. We have details of many of them and you can search our online database to find a group local to you. 

You can also get support from the Prostate Cancer UK online community. This is a free forum where people can ask questions and share experiences.