Patient experience (comments, compliments, concerns and complaints)

We are always keen to hear about your experience — as a patient, a carer or resident of Lancashire and South Cumbria. We appreciate all feedback, and will use it to improve our services.

We want to make sure we are open, honest and transparent commissioners of care. It's our intention to be truthful in all our dealings with patients and the public. 

You don’t ever need to worry about the service you receive in future being adversely affected because you have made a complaint. We take all comments seriously and will use the information to review our services and make improvements, where needed.

You can get in touch with us directly if you have a complaint, an enquiry, a comment or a compliment. You could choose to contact your local MP who can contact us on your behalf. ​We will also encourage our staff to share information with us when they are concerned.

Contact the patient experience team: lscicb-fw.patientexperience@nhs.net

If you are unhappy about any part of your care, treatment, or the way services are provided to you let us know as soon as you can. This makes it easier to put things right.

You should make a complaint within 12 months of the event(s) concerned or within 12 months of becoming aware that you have something to complain about. 

The first stage of the complaints procedure is called local resolution. You can make a complaint either about the actions of Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) or about the services we commission by contacting our patient experience team by freephone, email or letter.

Our opening hours are 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays. 

If your complaint is about the health or care provided to you by a local NHS service, you should first try to resolve it with them directly. If you are not able to do that you can contact us, and we can manage complaints about the services we commission. 

It may be that your concerns can be resolved without making a formal complaint. However, if you do wish to pursue a complaint you can do this in writing, verbally, face to face or by email to the NHS organisation concerned. Alternatively, you can complain directly to us as the service commissioner. 

We, with the provider of the service, will make sure your complaint is investigated, and a response is sent to you in a timely way. 

If you need to make your complaint verbally, a member of our patient experience team will put this in writing for you. You will be given the opportunity to discuss your concerns with a member of the team and say what outcome you would like. 

The timescale for the response will be agreed with you and you will receive a written acknowledgement confirming the points of your complaint that will be investigated.

Following an investigation into your complaint you will be sent a formal response from our chief executive or their delegate, including our explanation, conclusions and any action taken or learning. 

Consent

If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we will need their consent to proceed with the complaint. 

Please see all contact details below.

The patient experience team welcome any views and enquiries about our local NHS and we offer free and confidential help and advice. We call this the patient advice and liaison service (PALS). 

It is your opportunity to let us know what it is like to receive NHS services as a patient, relative, friend or carer.

It offers you the chance to provide comments, compliments or raise concerns about services you have received and helps the ICB ensure that high quality, responsive services are always available to you.

If we cannot resolve any concerns informally, we can advise you how to make a complaint. 

If you have a complaint or concern about your GP practice, dentist, pharmacy or optician, whether clinical or administrative, you should initially raise this directly with your practice.

If you are unable to resolve your concern with the practice informally you can make a formal complaint.

All practices have a complaints policy which is available on the practice website.

If your complaint is about primary care services such as GPs, dentists, opticians or pharmacy services, you should contact Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB.

Telephone: 0800 032 2424

E-mail: lscicb-fw.patientexperience@nhs.net

Write to: Level 3, Christ Church Precinct, County Hall, Fishergate Hill, Preston, PR1 8XB

Note: changes on 1 July 2023  

  • From 1 July 2023 the way members of the public make a complaint about primary care services to the commissioner is changing. Rather than contacting NHS England, complaints will be made to directly to the local integrated care board (ICB).  
  • Members of the public will still be able to make a complaint to the provider. This is NOT changing. 
  • Members of the public with ongoing complaints received on/after 1 July 2022 will receive a letter from NHS England informing them that the ICB is now handling their complaint with confirmation of their case handler. 
  • Members of the public with any ongoing complaints received before 1 July 2022 will receive a letter from NHS England informing them that their complaint is being retained by NHS England with confirmation of their case handler. 

Find out more about how to feedback or make a complaint about an NHS service

What is the current process for making primary care complaints and how will that change on 1 July 2023? From 1 July 2023 the way members of the public make a complaint about primary care services to the commissioner is changing. Rather than contacting NHS England, they will contact their local integrated care board (ICB). The public can still complain directly to the provider (GP, dentist etc) - this is not changing. 

What date will ICBs start to handle primary care complaints? Operational responsibility for the complaints function will move to ICBs on 1 July 2023. Members of the public with ongoing complaints received on/after 1 July 2022 will receive a letter from NHS England informing them that the ICB is now handling their complaint with confirmation of their case handler. Members of the public with any ongoing complaints received before 1 July 2022 will receive a letter from NHS England informing them that their complaint is being retained by NHS England with confirmation of their case handler. 

Where can you find information about how to make a complaint about a primary care service?  There are many organisations that will help signpost people to information about how   to provide feedback or make a complaint about healthcare services. These are some of the main ones. 

Does the delegation of the primary care complaints function from NHS England to ICBs on 1 July 2023 include all primary care services? In the main, yes. There are some specialised services, such as Health and Justice, where the care provided by a GP in a prison setting is still commissioned directly by NHS England and therefore NHS England would still manage these complaints. See Annex 1:

Annex 1 

Retained services commissioned directly by NHSE. The following is a list of services that NHS England central complaints team will retain the handling of after 1 July 2023. 

  • Specialised Commissioning 
  • Health and Justice 
  • Armed Forces Health 
  • Section 7a (Public Health Immunisations and Vaccinations) 
  • PCSE 
  • Services delivered nationally by NHSE to patients/public (such as Screening Call and Recall, NHS App etc) 

This list is not exhaustive.  

Where should information be available in each ICB area about how to make a complaint about a primary care service? It should be available on the websites of the ICBs, Healthwatch, providers of primary care services, VCSE organisations, health charities and local MPs.  

Do ICBs have to publicise the change happening on 1 July 2023? Yes, NHS England expects ICBs to communicate to the public, stakeholders and staff the changes to the way people can make a complaint about primary care services. 

Will the staff currently handling a complaint manage them through to the end or will another member of staff pick them up as part of the new arrangements? Staff from the NHS England regional complaints teams are being transferred to ICBs to support the delegation of the complaints function. The transfer of complaints staff from NHS England regions to ICBs will differ from region to region but complainants should be reassured that the information about their complaint will transfer to the ICB and they will not need to repeat their complaint or reshare any information already provided. Members of the public with ongoing complaints received by NHS England on/after 1 July 2022 will receive a letter from NHS England informing them that the ICB is now handling their complaint with confirmation of their case handler. Members of the public with any ongoing complaints received before 1 July 2022 will receive a letter from NHS England informing them that their complaint is being retained by NHS England with confirmation of their case handler. 

What do ICB comms directors need to know about media handling concerning the transfer of primary care complaints? Whilst NHS England receives very few media enquiries pertaining to complaints, who should handle them will be determined by who signed the complaint response. If the response was signed by an NHS England director (or equivalent) then the enquiry should go to the relevant NHS England regional/national comms team. If the complaint response was signed by an ICB CEO/director then the enquiry should go the ICB comms team. If a complaint is open and being handled by NHS England (in keeping with timelines above) then the enquiry should go to the national NHS England comms team. If the complaint is open but being handled by the ICB the enquiry should go to the ICB comms team. 

Where can I find information to support staff moving from NHS England to ICBs as part of the transfer of the Primary Care Complaints function?  FutureNHS workspace hosts comprehensive HR FAQs, consultation support documents, template HR letters and line managers briefing pack. 

If you require independent advice about the complaints process, there are organisations which can help. They can support people by helping to write letters, prepare people for meetings and accompany them as well, and help people to know their options at every stage of a complaint.

Please see the relevant details below depending on where you live.

Fylde and Wyre  

Advocacy Access
Telephone: 0345 456 3210
Textphone: 07886 744 634
Fax: 0300 323 0966
Email: contact@advocacyaccess.org.uk

East Lancashire

N-Compass
Telephone: 01253 362140 
Email: admin@ncompassnorthwest.co.uk

West Lancashire

Advocacy Access
Telephone: 0345 456 3210
Textphone: 07886 744 634
Fax: 0300 323 0966
Email: contact@advocacyaccess.org.uk

Morecambe Bay 

Advocacy Access
Telephone: 0345 456 3210
Textphone: 07886 744 634
Fax: 0300 323 0966
Email: contact@advocacyaccess.org.uk

Blackpool

Empowerment
Tel: 0300 32 32 100
Email: admin@empowermentcharity.org.uk
 

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your complaint, we will undertake further investigation to resolve it to your satisfaction. However, if you are still not happy, you can report it to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman may investigate complaints on your behalf, but only if your complaint has already been investigated locally. There is no charge for this service and the ombudsman is completely independent of the NHS.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman: 

Millbank Tower

Millbank

London

SW1P 4QP

Telephone: 0345 015 4033 (open 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday)
Email: phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk
Website: www.ombudsman.org.uk

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