We have a four-stage process for dealing with complaints. We'll try to resolve your complaint at the earliest stage possible.
If you're unhappy with our service, you should let us know as soon as you can. Most problems can be sorted out quickly without needing to go through the official complaints process. Call our enquiries line to speak to a member of staff - call 0300 303 5678 and select option 2.
Stage 1 - Make a complaint
To make a complaint, you can:
- email email@example.com, putting 'stage 1 complaint' in the subject line
- call our general enquiries line 0300 303 5678 (selecting option 2)
You should put detailed complaints in writing to make sure we cover all your concerns.
We will need:
- a clear, detailed description of your complaint
- copies of any letters or emails about the matter
- any correspondence reference number
- your email address or postal address so we can reply
How we handle stage 1 complaints
We will look at your complaint and work with the department concerned to resolve it.
We try to resolve complaints in 10 working days. If your complaint is complex this might not be possible. If we need more time we'll let you know and tell you when you can expect a response.
We'll send you a response to your complaint telling you what we will do to resolve it. Most complaints are resolved at this stage.
Stage 2 - Make a formal complaint
If you don't feel we've resolved your complaint after stage 1, you can make a formal complaint by post, phone, or online. You should put detailed complaints in writing to make sure we cover all your concerns. You can:
- write to the complaints manager:
7 and 8 Wellington Place
How we handle stage 2 complaints
When we get your stage 2 complaint we will:
- tell you we've got it and give you a reference number within 2 working days
- investigate your complaint - the executive director of the area you're complaining about will do this
We try to resolve formal complaints within 20 working days. If your complaint is complex this might not be possible. If we need more time we'll let you know and tell you when you can expect a response.
You'll get a formal response from the director who investigates your case.
Stage 3: Request an independent internal review
If you're not satisfied with the response to your stage 2 complaint you can ask for an independent internal review. To do this, write to the complaints manager and tell them why you feel your problem has not been resolved. You must do this within 28 days of getting the formal response to your stage 2 complaint.
How we handle stage 3 complaints
A non-executive director of NHS Digital will look at your case. They will ask for advice where appropriate and choose whether to:
- ask the complaints manager to re-investigate your complaint
- set up an independent review panel
- tell you that they have looked at the facts and will not be taking any further action
If the director decides an independent review would help resolve your complaint, an independent chairperson will be invited to sit on the panel and they will ask for the views of everyone involved.
We'll work as quickly as we can to do this, but the length of time taken will vary.
If the complaints manager re-investigates, you will get a formal response.
If there's an independent review, we'll send a short report on the panel's findings to you, and to the Chief Executive of NHS Digital.
The panel can't discipline anyone or award compensation but it can make recommendations.
Stage 4 - Complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
If you don't feel that your complaint has been resolved after stage 3, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The PHSO makes final decisions on unresolved complaints about NHS organisations in England. It's an independent service which is free for everyone to use.
To complain to the Ombudsman, visit the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman website or call 0345 015 4033.