Your right to complain about your GP or doctor

If you’re unhappy about the care or treatment you receive from your doctor or GP practice, you can make a complaint.

All patients have a right to have their complaint investigated and receive a full reply.

Every NHS body has to appoint someone to handle any complaints made to them. Ask at your GP surgery for the name of this person.

To have your complaint investigated, you usually need to complain within 12 months of the event happening, or as soon as you first become aware of the issue you want to complain about. But this timeline can be extended in exceptional circumstances. 

Complaining to the NHS in your region 

If you would prefer not to complain directly to your GP surgery, you can complain to the NHS in your region.

If you live in England you can complain to NHS England

If you live in Wales you can complain to NHS Wales

If you live in Scotland you can complain to NHS Scotland

If you live in Northern Ireland you can complain to Northern Ireland Direct

Top tips

  • Record what's discussed, who you speak to and on what date
  • Be sure to follow the surgery's complaints procedure
  • Don't wait too long - complaints older than 12 months might not be considered

The NHS constitution

The NHS constitution, which applies to England, sets out what staff, patients and the public can expect from the NHS and includes a list of the legal rights you have as a patient.

These include the right to make choices about your NHS care, to be treated with a professional standard of care by qualified staff and to access services within maximum waiting times.  

Getting help with your complaint

If you'd like help with making your complaint, there are a range of organisations that can provide assistance.

To find out more, read our guide on how to complain if you're unhappy with your GP or GP surgery

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