Raising a concern or making a complaint

At Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), we put children at the heart of everything we do.  We welcome all feedback as it helps us understand what we are doing well and how we can improve our services and the experiences of patients and their families.  However, we know that sometimes we do not do as well as you would want. Understanding your experience can help us to see things that we may miss as members of staff.

This information sheet how you can tell us about your experiences including how to raise any concerns or complaints. You can give feedback using our online form www.gosh.nhs.uk/your-opinion-matters or by completing a feedback card which is available in every ward and department.  Your feedback is essential in enabling us to understand what is important to you and helping us to shape what we do.

We always suggest talking to a member of staff in the first instance. Our staff are happy to help and often they are able to resolve issues.

Another way of raising a concern is to contact our Pals Office – they are based in the main reception area and open from Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. You can also call them on 020 7829 7862 or email pals@gosh.nhs.uk. The Pals team can offer independent advice and support, working with you to sort out a problem along with members of staff in the relevant area.

The Complaints team are also available if you want to make a complaint – you can call them on 020 7813 8402 or email complaints@gosh.nhs.uk.

If you have additional needs, we can help you to raise a concern or make a complaint – if you need an interpreter, for instance, or support to write things down, we can help – just tell us. Our information is available in an Easy Read format, as well as in languages other than English.

The complaints process

Complaints are managed in line with the NHS Complaints Regulations and must be made in writing (either by letter or email). When raising a complaint, please provide as much information as possible about what happened including any dates, location and details of who was involved.

We will also need to know your child’s name, date of birth and hospital number. . If you are complaining on behalf of someone else or your child is 16 or over, we may need to obtain their written consent.

When we contact you, we will tell you whether we are going to be able to investigate what happened or if too much time has passed or people have left GOSH since it happened.

What will happen next?

When we receive your complaint, we will contact you within three working days to let you know what will happen next, support available for you when making a complaint, and when we hope to respond to your complaint.

An investigator will look into what happened and where appropriate, how we can learn and stop it happening again. If the investigation takes longer than expected, we will contact you to let you know the reasons why and when you will receive a response.

When the investigation is completed, the Chief Executive will send you a letter explaining the results of the investigation and any action taken in response to your complaint.  We can provide the report and response in other formats, for instance, as an audio file or in an Easy Read format – please let us know.

It is important that you raise a concern as soon as possible, ideally within 12 months of it happening or you become aware of it.  We recognise that sometimes this is not possible and we will talk to you about any difficulties in investigating what happened if too much time has passed.

All complaints are confidential

We never refer to a concern or complaint in your child’s medical records – all our records are kept completely separate. In order to respond to your concerns, the investigator will speak to any relevant staff involved in your child’s care. However, bringing a complaint will not adversely affect your child’s care. If you think that your time at GOSH is being affected, please tell us immediately.

Will anything change as a result of a concern or complaint?

Yes – our aim is to learn from your experience so we can improve how we provide care. We know that hearing your experience helps us to see GOSH through your eyes and alerts us to issues.

No organisation is perfect so we are always trying to find better ways of doing what we do – listening to your concerns and complaints is a vital part of this.

What do I do if I am dissatisfied?

Please let our Complaints Team know if you are dissatisfied or have remaining concerns or questions. We can talk through these concerns and/or organise a meeting with any of the staff involved, where appropriate.

You can also contact the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman – they provide a free service when a complaint about health services has not been settled to everyone’s satisfaction.

They have a number of useful videos about what they do on their website including one in BSL with subtitles at www.ombudsman.org.uk/accessibility/if-you-are-deaf-or-hardhearing.

Other organisations you can contact with a concern or complaint

There are other organisations outside of GOSH who you can contact with any concerns or complaints.

The NHS Complaints Advocacy Service is a free and independent service that can help you make a complaint about the National Health Service (NHS). For details of your local office please call their helpline on 0300 330 5454 or visit NHS Complaints Advocacy

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator for all health and social care services in the UK. Their job is to make sure that the care given in hospitals and other health or social care services meets government standards for quality and safety. You can raise a concern through their website by searching for the organisation and completing an online form, or by calling their Customer Service Centre on 03000 616161.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman considers complaints that the NHS or other public organisations have not acted properly or fairly. The Ombudsman carries out independent investigations into complaints that have already been investigated by hospitals and other local NHS organisations. You can telephone their helpline on 0345 015 4033 or visit their website for further information. They have a number of useful videos about what they do on their website including one in BSL with subtitles, viewable below:

Watch this further BSL video to learn more about the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and what they do.