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The Medical Ombudsman Service

If you are concerned or otherwise aggrieved about treatment received on the NHS, your first port of call may be the internal complaints procedure administered by the Trust responsible for the Hospital in question.

If you are still dissatisfied, and are not minded to consult a solicitor, where next?

In that case you need to contact the (Parliamentary and) Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

Their job is to investigate complaints of unfair treatment or poor service received by the public from (government departments and other public organisations and) the NHS in England.

Initial process

Before the PHSO will get involved, you are required to have made the formal complaint internally at the Hospital in question, to have answered any queries they raised about the matter and provided any details or documentation to enable them to undertake a full investigation, to have received their formal detailed reply to your complaint, but to remain concerned or unhappy nevertheless, resulting in the need for the complaint to be escalated to the Ombudsman.

At this stage, the complainant must either complete and submit an online formal complaint form from its website or else telephone for one and then post it back when completed.

The form, at 4 pages long, is certainly not a short document however given the seriousness of the matters likely to required investigation and the implications for those involved, we do not consider it to be inappropriate or unduly onerous.

Copies of all the communications in the course of the original internal complaint will need to be attached to the PHSO form.

You will also need to give the Ombudsman your permission to access your medical and other relevant records to enable the complaint to be properly investigated.

The system then is as follows:-

1. Written acknowledgment in 7 days
2. Check done that complaint is about matters within their power to regulate
3. Check that internal complaint procedure exhausted
4. If 2 and 3 satisfied, complaint then investigated
5. Further details may then be required of you; a report or opinion from an independent expert may be sought
6. Decision informed to you
7. If appropriate, compensation may be ordered to be paid to you; the Hospital may be told to change procedures or policies.

If a complainant is unhappy with the manner of investigation of the PHSO, he/she can complain about this (!) but this complaint should be made as soon as possible after the original PHSO decision, to avoid papers having been destroyed (usually about 2 years after that decision).

Ultimately you can then refer the PHSO’s decision to the Court in the process called “judicial review” but this would be exceptional and extremely expensive.

The PHSO can be found at http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/home or telephone no. 0345 015 4033.

Here to help you

Lloyd Green are happy to assist you with this, if you so wish, or indeed to handle any formal legal claim that arising from clinical negligence, in a friendly, sensitive, expert and swift manner.

Please do not hesitate to call our clinical negligence specialist solicitors for a no obligation, free discussion. If there are sufficient grounds to take on your case, we will do so on a no win, no fee basis thereafter.

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