Services and Support » Health » Complaints
Our service to you
It is our job to make sure that you receive the right service at the right time when you become ill or have an accident, or to help you stay well. To do this we have contracts with a range of organisations that provide health care services, such as hospitals, community services, GP practices, Community pharmacies, dentists, opticians, community and voluntary organisations and the private sector.

We expect all organisations that we contract with to provide high quality care and we know that while most people are happy with the care they receive, this isn’t always the case.

Your feedback can help us
We know there are times when you may want to comment or complain about a service or to compliment the service or the staff involved. It is also important that services are made aware of when things have gone well so we can promote good practice. In any service there is always scope for improvement and we will pleased to receive any comments, suggestions or compliments you may have which can be considered in the future development of services. Unfortunately sometimes things can go wrong and it is equally important that we know about this so we can try to put things right and prevent them from going wrong in the future.

2.2 Your rights
If you are not happy with the care or treatment you have received or you have been refused treatment for a condition, you have the right to complain, have your complaint investigated and be given a full and prompt reply. The NHS Constitution explains your rights when it comes to making a complaint:
You have the right to:
– Have your complaint dealt with efficiently and properly investigated Know the outcome of any investigation into your complaint
– Take your complaint to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you are not satisfied with the way the NHS has dealt with your complaint.
– Make a complaint for judicial review if you think you have been directly affected by an unlawful act or decision of an NHS body, and
– Receive compensation if you have been harmed

2.3 When should you make a complaint?
Complaints should normally be made within 12 months of the date of the event that you are complaining about, or as soon as the matter came to your attention. The time limit can sometimes be extended (so long as it is still possible to investigate the complaint.) An extension might be possible in situations where it would have been difficult for you to complain earlier, for example, when you are grieving or undergoing trauma.

2.4 How do you make a complaint?
If your complaint is about a hospital, community or mental health service you should send this to the NHS organisation involved. If your complaint is about a GP practice, dental practice, community pharmacy or optician you should send this to the practice concerned. However, if you feel too uncomfortable to complain to the service provider directly then you can make a complaint to the commissioner of the services instead. NHS services are commissioned, planned and paid for by either NHS England or Integrated Care Boards (ICBs).

NHS England is responsible for purchasing primary care services such as GPs, dentists, pharmacists, optical services and some specialised services, and you should contact them if you wish to complain about any of these services.

When you contact NHS England via email ( ensure you state ‘For the attention of the complaints manager’ in the subject line.

You should provide as much information as possible to allow NHS England to investigate your complaint, such as:
– your name and contact details
– a clear description of your complaint and any relevant times and dates
– details of any relevant healthcare providers or services
– any relevant correspondence, if applicable.

For secondary care including hospital treatments, emergency care and some community services like district nursing, you should contact your local ICB.

North East and North Cumbria Inegrated Care Board is responsible for the planning and buying of local NHS care and services to meet the needs of the local community across Newcastle Gateshead and can be contacted at:
NHS North East and North Cumbria ICB
Riverside House
Goldcrest Way
Newburn Riverside Business Park
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE15 8NY
Tel: 0191 217 2996
If you have a complaint, comment or compliment relating to any of the hospitals within Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust or Community Health Services in Gateshead you can contact:
Complaints manager
Telephone: 0191 445 6047
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Trust Headquarters, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead, NE9 6SX

Chief Executive, Mrs Yvonne Ormston
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Trust Headquarters, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead, NE9 6SX 

2.5 The complaints procedure
The Department of Health’s website has information about the NHS complaints procedure at:
2.6 The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)
If you are unhappy with the response to your complaint, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review this. Find more information and contact details at:
2.7 Where can you get help and advice?
Making a complaint can be daunting but help and advice is available from:
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
1 October, 2012
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service is a confidential service offering ‘On the Spot’ help and advice for patients, relatives, carers and staff. We listen to any complaints, compliments, queries or concerns.

Contact PALS
Tel: 0191 445 6129
Freephone: 0800 953 0667
Post: PALS Manager, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead, NE9 6SX
PALS is located in the orange zone of the hospital. Download a map of the QE hospital.
Our opening hours are Monday-Friday, 9am – 5pm with an answering machine available outside of these times.
Download the PALS information leaflet
Contact our complaints team

 The main aims of the PALS service are to:
·        Advise and support patients, their families and carers
·        Provide information on NHS services to help you make choices 
·        Listen to your questions, suggestions, concerns and compliments
·        Help sort out problems quickly on your behalf
·        Guide you through the different services available in the NHS
Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICA)
The ICA provides help and support to people who want to raise concerns about the NHS. The ICA can be contacted by:
Phone: 0808 802 3000