image depicting complaints

Complaints Procedure

We always try to give you the best services possible, but there may be times when you feel that this has not happened.

Most problems can be sorted out quickly and easily, often at the time they arise and with the person concerned. This may be the approach you try first.

The Practice will take reasonable steps to ensure that patients are aware of: 

•    Their right to complain
•    The complaints procedure
•    The time limit for resolution 
•    How it will be dealt with
•    The name of the senior manager overseeing their complaint
•    In the case of clinical complaints, the name of the lead GP Partner
•    Their right of appeal
•    Further action they can take if not satisfied
•    The fact that any issues will not affect any ongoing care from the surgery.

Making a complaint

If you are unable to resolve your complaint at the time with the person and therefore wish to make a formal complaint you should do so, in writing as soon as possible after the event.  Ideally within a few days, as this helps us to establish what happened more easily. In any event, this should be:

Within 12 months of the incident


Within 12 months of you discovering that you have a problem, giving as much detail as you can.  If you are a registered patient you can complain about your own care. You are unable to complain about someone else’s treatment without their written authority, (see the separate section on this page).

Receiving of complaints

The Practice may receive a complaint made by, or (with his/her consent) on behalf of a patient, or former patient, who is receiving or has received treatment at the Practice, or:

•    where the patient is a child: by either parent, or in the absence of both parents, the guardian or other adult who has care of the child
•    by a person duly authorised by a local authority to whose care the child has been committed under the provisions of the Children Act 1989;
•    by a person duly authorised by a voluntary organisation by which the child is being accommodated 
•    where the patient is incapable of making a complaint, by a relative or other adult who has an interest in his/her welfare

Send your written complaint to:

Heather Carrigan
Practice Manager
Pembroke Road Surgery
111 Pembroke Road
Bristol BS8 3EU

For an informal discussion, please contact Heather Carrigan via the main surgery number on: 0117 973 3790.

What we will do

We look to settle complaints as soon as possible.  We will acknowledge receipt within 3 working days and this will include how the complaint will be handled and the timescale. We will keep you informed as the investigation progresses.

When looking into a complaint we attempt to see what happened and why, to see if there is something we can learn from this, and make it possible for you to discuss the issue with those involved if you would like to do so. 

When the investigations are complete your complaint will be determined and a final response sent to you.

Where your complaint involves more than one organisation (e.g. social services) we will liaise with that organisation so that you receive one coordinated reply. We may need your consent to do this. Where your complaint has been sent initially to an incorrect organisation, we may seek your consent to forward this to the correct person to deal with.

The final response letter will include details of the result of your complaint and also your right to escalate the matter further if you remain dissatisfied with the response.

In summary

  • We take all complaints very seriously and a conduct a thorough investigation, addressing any learning needs that may arise as a result.
  • On receipt of a written complaint an acknowledgement will be sent within three working days confirming receipt and outlining the next steps.
  • You will be kept update on the progress of the investigation as appropriate.
  • It may be that outside sources will need to be contacted and if that is the case then a patient consent form will need to be signed to make such a request.

Complaining on behalf of someone else

We keep to the strict rules of medical and personal confidentiality.  If you wish to make a complaint and are not the patient involved, we will require the written consent of the patient to confirm that they are unhappy with their treatment and that we can deal with someone else about it.

Where the patient is incapable of providing consent due to illness or accident it may still be possible to deal with the complaint. Please provide the precise details of the circumstances which prevent this, in your covering letter.

Please note that we are unable to discuss any issue relating to someone else without their express permission, which must be in writing, unless the circumstances above, apply.

We may still need to correspond direct with the patient, or may be able to deal direct with the third party, and this depends on the wording of the authority provided.

If you prefer not to contact the Practice directly

NHS England has responsibility for primary care in Bristol; GP practices, dental practices, opticians and pharmacies.  People with complaints or concerns about a GP practice, dental practice, optometry practice (optician) or pharmacy can contact the NHS England Customer Contact Centre for advice, guidance and to register a complaint: 

Tel: 0300 311 22 33
Post: NHS England
PO Box 16728
Redditch B97 9PT

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board (ICB) is committed to ensuring that services in the local area meet and exceed the expectations of our population. Your feedback is therefore very important and we strongly encourage you to share your experience with us so we can use it to help maintain, improve or if necessary, change the services we commission.

If you have a compliment, concern, complaint or would simply like some free and confidential advice in relation to a healthcare service you have received, please contact the Customer Services Team who will be happy to help you.

Tel: 0117 900 2655 or 0800 073 0907


Write to:

Customer Services Team
NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG
South Plaza,
Marlborough Street,


Advocacy is commissioned by the Council from HealthWatch Bristol.  They can offer different levels of support from self-advocacy through to trained volunteer advocates and professional advocacy.  They support patients to look at different options and possible outcomes so they can make informed choices about what action they can take.

HealthWatch can be contacted on: 0117 203 3594

If you remain dissatisfied with the response from the Practice

In all complaints, the second stage of the NHS complaints process remains to ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review the complaint.  You have the right to approach the Ombudsman.  The contact details are:

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
London   SW1P 4QP
Tel:  0345 015 4033