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NHS care in Scotland

If I have a complaint, who should I speak to?

If you want to make a complaint about any aspect of NHS care or treatment that you have received or you have been refused care or treatment, go to the practice, hospital or service concerned and ask for information on their complaints procedure.

The complaints procedure will be the same whether you wish to complain about NHS staff, an NHS service, or about the place where you have been seen (for example a clinic, hospital or doctor’s surgery).

All NHS Scotland services should be able to direct you to a copy of the NHS Inform Health Rights Information Scotland Leaflet, or view Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns dealt with.

If you would like advice or help in making a complaint please see our section on Advice and Support in Scotland.

What if I am not satisfied or I am not comfortable approaching the place where I received care?

If you do not feel comfortable doing this, or are not satisfied with the response, you can contact your local NHS Board and ask to speak to someone about complaints.

To find details for your local NHS Board:

How do I complain?

Advice on how to complain about the NHS is provided in the Health Rights Information Scotland (HRIS) leaflet Feedback and complaints: how to have a say about your care and have any concerns dealt with.

Health Rights Information Scotland

Health Rights Information Scotland is part of NHS Inform. NHS Inform provides a co-ordinated, single source of quality assured health and care information for the people of Scotland. HRIS produce nationally relevant information about patients' health rights and about the health services that are available from the NHS. 

Information is available in a range of formats and languages.

What if I am not happy about the way the NHS has handled my complaint?

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

If you are not happy about how the NHS has handled your complaint you can refer the matter to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) or seek a judicial review.

The SPSO look at complaints after they have been through the full formal complaints procedure of the NHS. It is important that you do this before submitting your complaint to the SPSO.

For more information about using the SPSO see http://www.spso.org.uk.

Judicial Review

It may be possible to challenge the final decision on your complaint by seeking a judicial review. The judicial review process allows a court of law to review decisions made by public bodies. You will need to consult a solicitor if you plan to seek a judicial review.

What next?

For examples of typical complaints and advice on what to do, you might like to visit our Case studies section.

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