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 following the Covid-19 crisis, although we are still continuing to run a normal service as below, due to current working arrangements there may be a delay in responding.


Compliments, comments & concerns

If your compliment, complaint or concern is about a GP Practice, primary care service, dentist, pharmacy or optician please contact NHS England - details of how to do this are at the bottom of the page.  The CCG is unable to process these.

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.  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. If we cannot resolve any concerns informally, we can advise you how to make a complaint.  Our CCG Complaints & Concerns Policy can be found here


How do I leave a compliment/ comment?

Using the contact details below - our team is always happy to hear from you!


How do I complain?

The first stage of the complaints procedure is called local resolution. If you are unhappy with the care or treatment you have received, in the first instance, you should make contact directly with the person or service that provided the care.  If you feel you cannot do this, or would prefer not to, then please contact the Customer Care Team:   

  • Phone: (Freephone) 0800 218 2333
  • Email:
  • Letter: Patient Advice and Liaison Service, Midlands and Lancashire CSU - Customer Care Team, Lancashire Enterprise Business Park, Leyland, Lancashire, PR26 6TY

Opening hours are 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

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 or NHS organisation concerned.  Alternatively, you can complain directly to our CCG as the service commissioner.

We, with the provider of the service, will ensure that your complaint is investigated, and a response is sent to you in a timely manner.

If you choose to make your complaint verbally, a member of the Customer Care team will put this in writing for you. You will be given the opportunity to discuss your concerns with a member of the Customer Care 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 acknowledgement confirming the points of your complaint that will be investigated.

Following an investigation into your complaint you will be sent a formal response from the CCG Accountable Officer, including an explanation of our consideration of your complaint, an honest explanation, conclusions that we have reached in respect of your complaint and / or any remedial action that is required.

Please be assured your query will be dealt with sensitively and in confidence.


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.


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




Complaints and concerns about GP practices/primary care/dentist practices

If you have a complaint or concern about your GP or dental 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, as above, the CCG is unable to become involved in complaints about a GP or dental practice or relating to primary care services 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

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


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, NHSE will need their consent to proceed with the complaint. Where necessary they will contact you about this.  When a complaint is made about a service such as a GP, dentist or pharmacy, NHSE 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 they are unable to access information sent this way. Any removable media will be returned to you, or securely destroyed if they 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 where appropriate.  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 NHSE will keep you updated throughout the process.

Further information