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How to make a complaint

It's not always easy to complain but it may be the best thing to do for you and the person you're caring for.

If you're not happy with a hospital's plans for a person coming out of hospital:

  • What to do if the person you care for is about to come out of hospital but you don't think they're ready or you don't think you can look after them

    Start by telling the nurse in charge. If you don't get anywhere, write to the hospital's General Manager/Chief Executive and ask for a review of the decision to discharge the person you are caring for.
    You can also refuse to look after someone when they come out of hospital and so try to force the services to make other arrangements for their care. Or you could ask for the person to stay in hospital until the help you think is needed is provided.
  • What to do if you're not happy with the decision to send the person you are caring for to a residential or nursing home

    A patient can refuse to be discharged but they do not have the right to stay in hospital indefinitely. If this happens, they must be offered care at home instead. If you are not happy with the care that is offered, you can ask the health authority for the area in which the patient normally lives to review the decision not to provide care at hospital. If the health authority is asked to review a decision it should give an explanation to the patient within two weeks. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, contact the Health Service Ombudsman

  • What to do if you are not happy with something else about a hospital's plans for a person coming out of hospital

    Start by complaining informally to the nurse in charge. If you aren't satisfied with their response, make an appointment to see the consultant. If you're still not happy, phone to make an urgent appointment with the hospital's General Manager/Chief Executive. If you're still not satisfied, write a formal complaint. If you're not happy with the hospital's response, contact the Health Service Ombudsman.


If you're not happy about the way a person is cared for after leaving hospital:

  • What to do if you are not happy with the support provided by the health services after a person leaves hospital

    Start by talking to the health professional but if you are still not happy, you can complain to the local health authority or your local Community Health Council or local Health Council (Scotland).
  • What to do if you're not happy with the help provided by social services after a person leaves hospital

    Contact the social services department and ask to speak to the person who deals with complaints. If you don't get anywhere, write to the Director of Social Services or contact your local councilor.


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Updated April 2015