Concerns and complaints

If you would like to raise a concern or complaint about our services, or the care that you or a family member have received, you can do so in a number of ways.

Many concerns and questions can be resolved quickly through a discussion with our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) before or without the need to start a more formal complaints process. Dorset HealthCare's PALS helpline is available on Freephone 0800 587 4997 or via email at dhc.pals@nhs.net

Read more about our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

Complaints

If you feel that we haven't given you the care you expected or needed, and you don't believe our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can help, you can tell us about it by making a complaint. You normally have about a year to do this*. Making a complaint will not have any adverse effect on your current or future care and treatment.

If you are unable to complain yourself, you can choose someone else to complain on your behalf. You can make a complaint in a number of ways:

Write to:
Complaints
Dorset HealthCare
Sentinel House
4-6 Nuffield Industrial Estate
Poole
Dorset BH17 0RB

Telephone:
01202 277024 / 277025

Email:
dhc.complaints@nhs.net

If you make a complaint via these routes, a senior manager will be in touch with you within three working days to discuss your complaint, arrange a meeting if appropriate, and agree the time needed to investigate. You will be kept updated throughout the investigation, and we will write to you at the end of the investigation to let you know what has been done to resolve your complaint.

You'll find more information on how to give us feedback, including making a complaint, in our leaflet 'Have Your Say'

If you are unable to complain yourself, you can ask someone else to complain on your behalf, e.g. a relative, carer or an advocate (see Advocacy Services, below), with your consent.

*Under the NHS Complaints Procedure, complaints are usually investigated only if they are made within 12 months of the event, although this time limit can be waived if there are good reasons for the delay.


Advocacy services

If you are unhappy with the service you have received from the NHS, free and independent advocacy services can help you to make your complaint and offer support and representation.

An advocate is someone who can support you in a number of different ways; for example, an advocate might help you access information you need, write letters on your behalf or go with you to meetings.

The advocacy service in Dorset is provided by Dorset Advocacy. In Southampton, this service is provided by SEAP Advocacy.

The Dorset Mental Health Forum also provides Independent Mental Health Act Advocacy (IMHA) which is a free and confidential service for any adult or young person in Dorset who is subject to the Mental Health Act 1983, as well as a general mental health advocacy service for anyone over 18 years of age in Dorset who is experiencing mental health problems.

Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, at:

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
Millbank
London
SW1P 4QP

Tel: 0345 015 4033

Other useful websites

You may also find the following organisations and websites helpful if you have a concern or complaint about your healthcare:

Patients Association

Healthwatch Dorset

Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS England – deals with all concerns relating to GP surgeries and dental practices

NHS Choices

Care Quality Commission

Feedback, concerns and complaints