NHS Advocacy Services and complaints about NHS service provision from 1 April 2013

Complaints about NHS service provision from 1 April 2013

Currently, a complaint about service provision may be made to either the provider of NHS-funded care or the PCT that commissioned the service. Under the new NHS system architecture, from April a complaint will be made to either the provider, or to either the NHS Commissioning Board or local CCG (whichever body commissioned the service in question).

NHS Advocacy Services

The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service ceases on 31 March. On 1 April, commissioning of NHS complaints advocacy services transfers to individual Local Authorities. If not already known, Complaint Managers and PALS staff should contact the Local Authority for details of the service in their areas.


  1. Andy Mead says:

    I am sorry to hear of you concerns regarding complaints handling in the NHS. There is in fact a two stage process to health complaints and you should have been informed of your right to progress to the the next stage, and then onto the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman ( should you remain dissatisfied.

    I am a complaints manager in an inner London Local Authority, and it is our practise to assist and inform complainants of their rights. Health and Adult Social Care complaints have been streamlined for a number of years now.

    I would, however also agree with Jimbob that there are many good example of complaints handling in the NHS. I hope this was helpful.

  2. J M says:

    Re: PALS – I agree with Lynne. I was told that the person who is required to respond to the complaint need only do once in writing. Once the response was received it was forwarded to me. The response was unsatisfactory and did not address the complaint in its entirety. The complaints service then informed me that their responsibilities had been fulfilled regardless of whether or not I was satisfied. They explained that they only pursue a single response (North Central London). I also waited over six weeks which was outside their response time benchmarks. This was not made mention of. I called or emailed with an update and I had to chase an essentially useless response for weeks. I think the service was a silly waste of my time. The young girl who was handling it seemed as though she had limited experience. I think it is probably a good thing that it is has been made redundant. Waste of complainant time and tax payer money.

    • Jimbob says:

      The ICAS service hasn’t been made redundant. New contracts are underway now, so the service continues but in many cases with different organisations providing the service. PALS are not independent, never have been. Were you talking about PALS or ICAS? It’s not very clear. If you used an ICAS advocate, they should have told you what the next step in the process was. If the Trust were refusing to look at the complaint any further, an ICAS advocate would have told you about the option of referring your case to the Ombudsman.

  3. LYNNE HEAL says:

    Any complaints are NOT looked into properly and ignored basically via letters with everyone covering their own backs

    • JImbob says:

      Perhaps in your experience Lynne. I have seen many complaints resolved successfully. And no, I don’t work for the NHS.