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Monday 30 September 2013

How to make a complaint in a Nationalised Health System.

First get your facts straight.

If you or a loved one has been receiving less than adequate care, it is an emotional roller coaster.  And you may well feel the need to justify and explain and blame.

So here's how we are learning to do it, when advocating for children.

Start with the GP records.  You can request them.  Then request the records from the other departments involved in the care - in our two current cases, CAMHS teams.

Then steel yourself, put on the kettle, open the Digestives, put on the Big Girls Pants.

Start with a timeline.

ON 2nd August - visit to GP  Yada yada yada

And build a timeline.

Here's the hard bit....

Without additional notes from you.

Keep going back and adding in the timelines from all the other sources that come in - note down Care Plans, Core Assessments, notes of phone calls, visits to and from "specialists".  See who talks to who and what they say behind you back and in front of your face.

With Mental Health teams they are "allowed" to withhold information they feel may be "detrimental" to the wellbeing of the patient and/or family.  To be honest, if what they reveal is anything to go by, what they hold back must surely be the stuff of fantasy novels.....

Only once you have a timeline and a clear picture of what happened when, who said what, where the holes in the care are, etc can you then take a highlighter (Nelly) and a ranty pen (MF) and UNDERLINE THINGS IN BRIGHT PINK.

Then add your own notes and explanations in, preferably in another colour.  But remember, you are the complainant.  You do NOT have to justify your actions to the professionals.  They have to justify their actions to you.  YOU are not being investigated.  They are....


  1. Hi Charlotte, Just wondered, how do you go about requesting notes from other organisations? I want to see my treatment notes from UHS/IPstays/adult services, and no one seems to be forthcoming about who I write to!

    Thanking you!

    1. On the trust website, there should be something about freedom of information. I've successfully requested notes from BSMHFT and in the process of doing so from CPFT.
      If there's no obvious link on their website, look for PALS info and the PALS rep may be able to help.

    2. Not sure where you are located but here's the BSMHFT link for accessing records:

    3. thank you!