Skip to main content

Make a complaint

We are currently receiving a high volume of enquiries.

The complaints service continues to be significantly affected by the ongoing impact of COVID-19. This has lead to people waiting longer than we would want for a response to their concerns, complaints or feedback.

We are sorry for any delays you may be experiencing and would like to reassure you that we are working hard to respond as quickly as possible.

We encourage you to discuss your concerns with the person responsible for your care, staff within the service or their manager in the first instance so they can try to put things right for you at the time.

Complaint response times

We are sorry that it could take several months before we can respond to your complaint.

We aim to complete our complaint investigations within 65 working days. However, this timeframe can be extended to allow more time to complete our investigations in full and ensure our response letter answers all of your concerns.

In line with NHS complaints regulations, our aim is to respond to all complaints within a six month period. In exceptional circumstances, a longer response time may be needed. This will be discussed with you to explain the reasons why and agree on a date when your response will be available.

Please be reassured that we take all complaints very seriously.

Your designated complaints officer will be your central point of contact throughout the handling of your complaint. They will maintain contact with you and provide progress updates. Do not hesitate to contact your complaints officer if you need further help or support. Their contact information will be on the correspondence that we have sent to you.

At University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) we value and respect everyone's views. If you're unhappy with any aspect of our services, we'd like to know about it so we can take action and improve on things that may have gone wrong.

Please note that making a complaint will not affect your current or future treatment.

Before you make a complaint

Staff in the ward or department are often best placed to help with any issues. We always suggest speaking to the person in charge first, if you can.

If this isn't possible, our Patient Relations team may be able to help with any concerns without you needing to submit a complaint.

Who can make a complaint?

The following people are eligible to make a complaint to UHB:

  • Current or past patients
  • Representatives of patients acting with a patient's consent, e.g. relatives, friends or carers
  • People acting on behalf of deceased patients, either acting as the patient's representative or with the consent of the patient's representative

When can I complain?

You should make your complaint as soon as possible after the event you wish to complain about.

Please make your complain no later than 12 months after the event, or after the date when you became aware of the problem if this was later.

How do I complain?

  • Wherever possible, please try to discuss your concerns with the person delivering the service or their manager, so they can put things right at the time
  • We understand you may not always feel comfortable doing this. You can speak to our Patient Relations team instead, through our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
  • If you are still unhappy and wish to make a full complaint, we will investigate your concerns under the NHS Complaints Regulations (2009). You may make your complaint verbally, electronically or in writing
  • Please let us know if you have specific requirements or a disability which means you'd like us to provide information in a particular way

For contact details, please see "submitting your complaint".

Help and support

POhWER provides a free, confidential NHS complaints advocacy service to help people who, because of disability, illness, social exclusion and other challenges, find it difficult to express their views or get the support they need. They can help you make the complaint and support you through the process. This can include attending meetings with you. This service is independent of UHB.

What happens when I make a complaint?

A member of the Patient Relations team will contact you to discuss your concerns, advise on the best way to deal with any issues and tell you how long this is likely to take.

We will agree with you the best way to keep in touch, then will keep you updated on what is happening with your complaint.

We will try to make the process as easy as possible for you.

How long will things take?

We will confirm that we have received your complaint within three working days. If we are unable to contact you by telephone, we will write to you and ask you to call us. We are always happy to call you back.

We will suggest a reasonable timescale to give us enough time to respond to your complaint in full in the way we've agreed.

If it looks like we can't resolve your complaint in the agreed timescale, we will contact you to explain why and to let you know when we'll be in touch with you again.

How will you get back to me?

We will try to contact you by telephone to confirm that we have received your complaint. If we are unable to contact you by telephone, we will write to you and ask you to call us. We are always happy to call you back.

When we first speak to you about your complaint we will agree with you how we will respond. For example, somebody from another department might call you to discuss your complaint, or we may arrange a meeting with senior staff or send you a letter following an investigation of any issues raised.

We will keep you updated with progress by telephone, email or letter. We will agree with you how you'd like to be updated.

What can I do if I'm not satisfied?

If you're not happy with the way we've handled your complaint, please let us know. We may be able to agree another way to deal with your concerns. For example, if we responded in writing we may set up a meeting to discuss anything you're still unhappy about.

We will always try to find ways to resolve any issues within the Trust. However, if we have tried all reasonable ways to respond to your concerns and you're still dissatisfied, you can request a review from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. For further information and contact details, please see the Ombudsman website.

Submitting your complaint

If you wish to make a complaint, please get in touch with our Patient Relations team.

Please note that email is not guaranteed to be secure. Any personal information (for example date of birth, address or NHS number) is sent via email at your own risk.

If you would prefer not to send personal information by email, please send us an outline of the nature of your feedback along with your phone number and we will call you back.

If you require interpreting services, including British Sign Language (BSL), we are happy to provide this to help you submit your feedback and understand our response.

Last reviewed: 04 November 2022