Anyone can make a comment or seek assistance to NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board (ICB) via our Complaints Team. The ICB will respond where possible.
NHS Kent and Medway ICB welcomes positive feedback and compliments, which can be made via our Complaints Team.
Making a complaint
Making a complaint is one way that helps organisations to learn lessons from any mistakes, prevent them from happening to anyone else and to improve services. There are only two stages to the NHS Complaints Process ‘Local Resolution’ and Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).
Anyone can make a complaint including, patients, someone acting on behalf of the patient with their written consent, or anyone affected by the actions of an NHS body.
How can I make a complaint?
You can make a complaint in writing, by email, or if you are unable to do this, over the telephone. You should make your complaint as soon as possible; this should be within a year of the event. You can make a complaint on your own or on behalf of someone else if you have their permission.
Who can make a complaint?
A complaint may be made by a person who:
- receives or has received services
- is affected, or likely to be affected, by the action, omission or decision of the responsible body which is the subject of the complaint.
A complaint may be made by a person acting on behalf of someone who:
- has died
- is a child
- has physical incapacity or
- lacks capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, or
- has requested the representative to act on their behalf such as a friend/relative. Advocate or formal complaints raised by Members of Parliament on behalf of their constituents.
Please contact our communications team if you need this information in another language or format.
When to make a complaint
Please make your complaint as soon as possible, while memories are still fresh. Usually, the NHS deals with complaints made within one year of the event that you are complaining about, or within one year of finding out you have cause to complain. This time limit may be waived if there are good reasons why you were not able to complain earlier, and an effective investigation can still be carried out.
What to include when making a complaint:
• your name, address, email and phone number
• the full name, address, email and phone number of the patient concerned (if that is not you) and their written permission (a signature on the letter is enough)
• a summary of what happened with dates, if possible
• a list of the questions you would like answered
• what you want to happen as a result of your complaint
• permission for us to copy the complaint to the people who need to take part in the investigation.
Complaints about the commissioning of NHS services within NHS Kent and Medway
NHS Kent and Medway ICB investigates and responds to complaints about the actions/decisions of the ICB. If you would like to send us a compliment, comment or complaint about the actions/decisions of NHS Kent and Medway ICB, please contact:
The Complaints Team
Phone: 01634 335095 - Option 7 (office hours are from 8am to 4pm)
NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board
Lower Stone Street
Kent ME15 6NB
(Our offices have limited opening following the Covid-19 pandemic. It would be preferable if you could use the email address to get in touch.)
The services we commission include:
• urgent and emergency care (including 111, A&E and ambulance services)
• out-of-hours primary medical services
• elective hospital care (outpatient appointments and operations)
• community health services (such as community nursing, rehabilitation services, speech and language therapy, continence services, wheelchair services, and home oxygen services)
• maternity and new-born services (excluding neonatal intensive care)
• children’s healthcare services (mental and physical health)
• services for people with learning disabilities
• mental health services (including psychological therapies)
• fertility services.
Our Complaints Team will manage your complaint, which will be investigated by an appropriate manager/staff member within the ICB.
• We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days of receipt.
• Once consent (if required) is received, the ICB will work with you to investigate your ICB related complaint and aim to provide you with a written response within 30 working days.
• Complaints that are more complex may take longer for the ICB to be able to respond to you. If we think a response will take longer, we will advise you as soon as possible.
• We will keep you updated if there are any delays during the complaints process.
This process may involve:
• accessing your records (with your consent) so we can view relevant information
• using your information for other purposes, such as monitoring the complaints process or improving service quality. Where possible, only anonymous information will be used. If identifiable data is needed for other purposes, then we will ask your consent first.
We will deal with complaints in a manner that is proportional to the issues raised. The NHS organisation responsible will investigate your complaint and aim to resolve the concerns raised. Where needed, they will take action to prevent the incident from happening again.
When the investigation is complete, you will be written to with the outcome, including any improvements that have been, or will be made as a result of your complaint.
If you are unhappy with the response to your complaint, you should contact the Complaints Team to see if the ICB can look into the case further.
If you are unhappy with the way your concerns have been handled, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review your complaint:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
0345 015 4033
We will respect your right to confidentiality and treat any information you provide in strict confidence, handling this information in a safe and secure manner. However, there may be times when we need to share information without your consent, for example to protect children and vulnerable adults. You can withdraw your complaint at any stage of the process.
Depending on the nature of your complaint, we may also need to share your information with other NHS providers of care. Your consent will be sought if that is the case.
NHS Kent and Medway ICB will retain personal information for the purpose of this complaint investigation only. In order for the ICB to make improvements to the services you receive, anonymous information about your complaint may be shared as part of our reporting process.
While a complaint about a provider service can be raised with the ICB, it is recommended you make your complaint to the provider of the service you are complaining about. If you do raise your complaint about a provider service with the ICB we will consider how the case should be handled. If we deem the provider should handle the complaint, we will provide the contact details for you to contact the provider and/or seek your consent to share the complaint with the provider. We will let you know if we consider the ICB is best placed to handle the complaint and seek consent to liaise with the provider.
Complaints about a doctor (GP), dentist, pharmacist or optometrist.
Contact the service directly or the NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) Customer Contact Centre:
Phone: 0300 311 22 33 (this is charged as a local rate call)
(Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday, (excluding English Bank Holidays) and with the exception of Wednesdays when their lines open at 9.30am)
(Please add, ‘For the attention of the complaints manager’, in the subject line).
Address: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT
Complaints about hospitals, mental health, community and other services
All services providing NHS care will have a complaints process in line with the NHS complaints procedure. If you have a complaint about a hospital, mental health, community or other NHS service, you should direct this to the organisation directly. Should you wish the ICB to be aware of your complaint please send a copy of your complaint to the ICB’s PALS and Complaints Team; the responsibility for investigating and responding to the issues remains with the service complained about.
Comments or complaints about other NHS services
For information and comments about services funded by NHS England, please visit the website. The services they fund include:
- GP practices
- NHS opticians
- NHS dental services
- health services for people in prisons and other custodial settings:
- adult prisons
- young offender institutions
- juvenile prisons
- secure children's homes
- secure training centres
- immigration removal centres
- police custody suites
- health services for members of the armed forces and their families,
- specialised and highly specialised NHS services.
If you would like independent help or support with your NHS related complaint, The Advocacy People is a free complaints advocacy service available for you to use. The Advocacy People can represent your views when you are making a complaint about the ICB. It can help you write your complaint letter or write it on your behalf. It can accompany you to any meetings to discuss your complaint and provide support or provide an interpreter. The Advocacy People can help if you have difficulties with reading or writing.
The Advocacy People
PO Box 375
0330 440 9000
Using The Advocacy People will not affect or change the way in which the ICB will respond or deal with your complaint.