Compliments, Concerns and Complaints

We are continually looking at ways to improve health services and make the best use of limited NHS resources for the people of St Helens.

We would like to hear from you if you think we have done something well or if you have suggestions on how we could do something differently. Equally, we want to know if you are unhappy with the service provided or have a complaint.

Please note that during the Covid-19 crisis, we are still running a normal service as below but due to working arrangements, there may be a delay in responding.


Complaints and concerns about GP practices/primary care

If you have a complaint or concern about your GP Practice, whether clinical or administrative, you should initially raise this directly with your practice. All practices have a complaints policy which is available on the practice website. If you are unable to resolve you concern with the practice then you should contact NHS England using one of the methods described below.

Please note that the CCG is unable to become involved in complaints about primary care as these are managed directly by NHS England.

You can complain or give feedback to NHS England

By post to:

NHS England
PO Box 16738
B97 9PT

By email to:

If you are making a complaint please state: ‘For the attention of the complaints team’ in the subject line.

By telephone: 0300 311 22 33

Ppening hours are: 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, except Wednesdays when we open at the later time of 9.30am. We are closed on bank holidays.


Complaints – what you need to provide

Provide as much information as possible to allow NHS England to investigate your complaint. Include the following:

  • your name and a valid email or home address for reply
  • a phone number in case we need to contact you for additional information
  • the name, location, and postal address (if you know it) of the service you want to complain about
  • a clear description of what you want to complain about and when this happened
  • any relevant correspondence


If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we will need their consent to proceed with the complaint. We will contact you about this.

When a complaint is made about a service such as a GP, dentist or pharmacy, we will also require specific consent to share the complaint with that service in order to investigate it. It will speed up the process if you include the following line in your complaint:

“I give permission for my complaint to be shared with (insert name of GP / dental surgery etc.) in order for NHS England to carry out an investigation.”

Removable Media

Please do not post removable media to NHS England, for example CDs, DVDs, SD cards and memory sticks. Due to security restrictions we are unable to access information sent this way. Any removable media will be returned to you, or securely destroyed if we do not have your details.

What happens next?

NHS England will acknowledge all complaints no later than the third working day after the day the complaint is received.

Investigating the complaint

The complaint will be investigated and you will receive the findings of the investigation along with an apology. You will also receive an explanation of any lessons learned or changes that will take place as a result of the findings of the investigation.

How long will it take?

This will depend on what your complaint is about and how complex it is. Communication with you is important and we will keep you updated throughout the process.

Further information


Other compliments, comments & concerns

Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is a free and confidential service available to anyone who needs help and advice or information on NHS services in St Helens (not including GP practices). It is your opportunity to let us know what it is like to receive NHS services as a patient, relative, friend or carer.  It offers you the chance to provide comments, compliments or raise concerns about services you have received and helps the CCG ensure that high quality, responsive services are always available to you.

PALS can be contacted by:

Phoning: (Freephone) 0800 218 2333

Writing to:

Patient Advice and Liaison Service

Midlands and Lancashire CSU - Customer Care Team

Liverpool Innovation Park

Second Floor (Building 2)

360 Edge Lane

Liverpool, L7 9NJ

Or emailing


If we can’t answer your concerns, or if you want to make a complaint, please see below. Please be assured your query will be dealt with sensitively and in confidence.

If your compliment, complaint or concern is about a GP, dentist, pharmacy or optician, you should contact:

  • The practice manager at the surgery you received the service from; or
  • NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT, Tel No: 0300 311 22 33
  • Email:


When should I complain?

If you are unhappy about any part of your care, treatment, or the way services are provided to you let us know as soon as you can. This makes it easier to put things right.

You should make a complaint within 12 months of the event(s) concerned or within 12 months of becoming aware that you have something to complain about. However, it is much easier to deal with your complaint if it is made as soon as possible after the event.


How do I complain?

The first stage of the complaints procedure is called local resolution. Your complaint should be made in the first instance to the NHS organisation or primary care practitioner providing the service (e.g. to the doctor, nurse, GP, dentist, pharmacist using the contact details above).

It may be that your concerns can be resolved without making a formal complaint. However if you do wish to pursue a complaint you can do this in writing, verbally, face to face or by email to the primary care practitioner, NHS organisation concerned or alternatively it is your right to make your complaint directly to the service commissioner (the CCG):

We will liaise with the provider of the service and will ensure that your complaint is investigated and a response is received in a timely manner.

If you choose to make your complaint verbally, a member of the complaints team will put this in writing for you. You will be given the opportunity to discuss your concerns with a member of the complaints team and say what you would like as an outcome.

The timescale for the response will be agreed with you and you will receive a written reply to confirm the outcome of the investigation into your complaint.

Following an investigation into your complaint you will be sent a formal response from our Clinical Accountable Officer, including an explanation of our consideration of your complaint, an honest explanation, conclusions that we have reached in respect of your complaint, any remedial action that is considered to be appropriate and confirmation that the action has been taken or that it will be actioned.


Where can I go for more help?

Healthwatch St Helens can provide a free, confidential advocacy service if people feel they have not had the service they expect from the NHS and wish to complain. It is a free, confidential service. They can support people by helping to write letters, prepare people for meetings and accompany them as well, help people to know their options at every stage of a complaint.

Healthwatch: Beacon Building North Road St Helens WA10 2TJ 

Telephone: 0300 111 0007



What if I am still unhappy?

If you have outstanding concerns, please let us know; you can also ask the Ombudsman to investigate your complaint. Normally the Ombudsman expects that the NHS has been given a chance to try to resolve the complaint.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman: 

Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP

Complaints Helpline Tel: 0345 015 4033




Our CCG Complaints & Concerns Policy can be found here