The right to complain
Our ‘Care and treatment: your rights and choices’ information explains your rights and choices with regard to your epilepsy care and treatment. ‘Rights’ are in the NHS Constitution and the Handbook to the NHS Constitution, and you are entitled to them by law. Where we say ‘you should’, you may not have a legal right, but these are recommendations made in the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guideline on epilepsy.
You have a right to complain about NHS services or treatment
“You have the right to have any complaint you make about NHS services acknowledged within three working days and to have it properly investigated......to be kept informed of progress, and to know the outcome of the complaint”. NHS Constitution
It may be quicker and less stressful for you to resolve any issues by speaking to the individual involved or to a manager related to the service.
If you do want to make a complaint about any NHS treatment or service, you can make your complaint to the NHS service involved (eg the hospital, GP practice, or dentist). Or you can complain to the organisation that arranged the service – the Integrated Care Board (ICB) for secondary care such as hospitals, or NHS England for primary care such as GPs or dentists.
You cannot complain to both the service provider and the organisation that arranged the service.
You can ask for help in making a complaint from the Complaints Advocacy Service or from the hospital’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). If you are not happy with how your complaint is resolved, you can take it to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
If your complaint is about public health services (such as services that aim to prevent disease etc) or about services provided through local authorities or social care, you should raise this directly with either the local service provider, or the local authority, in the first instance. If, you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint, you can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
The NHS website has more information about the NHS complaints procedure.
For more about the NHS Constitution visit nhs.uk/NHSConstitution
For more about the Handbook to the NHS Constitution visit gov.uk/government/publications/supplements-to-the-nhs-constitution-for-england
For more about the NICE guideline visit nice.org.uk/guidance/ng217
Information updated: March 2023
Our ‘Care and treatment: your rights and choices’ information explains your rights and choices with regard to your epilepsy care and treatment.
Sources used to develop Care and treatment: your rights and choices.
A clear care pathway to show you what to do from the first seizure to referrals and reviews.