Comments and complaints

Complaints about Health and Social Care Services
If you have a complaint about a service, the first thing you should do is tell the service. This applies whether you pay for your care or your local Council funds it.

By law, every care/support service and social care service must have an efficient procedure for dealing with complaints. Ask for a copy of the service’s complaints procedure so that you understand what you must do and how they will deal with your complaint.

Care funded by your local council
If you are not happy with the reply you receive from a care service when you complain, you can take your complaint to your local social services department.

You will need to follow their complaints procedure – your social worker, care manager or the department itself will explain what to do. In the first instance, write to Customer Services Team Gloucestershire County Council, Freepost, Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2TG (This is a freepost address, you don’t need to attach
a stamp.)

The care service or Gloucestershire County Council should try to sort out your complaint themselves and put things right to prevent the same thing happening again. If you are not satisfied with the final reply from the care service or Gloucestershire County Council, you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman. There are three Local Government Ombudsmen in England.

They each deal with complaints from different parts of the country. However, you should first send your complaint to:

The Local Government Ombudsman,
PO Box 4771, Coventry CV4 0EH
Tel: 0300 061 0614
or 0845 602 1983.

Complaints about care that you pay for yourself Since 2010, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to take up your case if you are not happy about how a service dealt with your complaint about care/support provider that you pay for yourself.

Useful contacts for complaints
Age UK (the name of the combined Help the Aged and Age Concern) Provides information and advice to older people and their families. Offers a mediation service which means  it will talk to everyone involved with a complaint about social care to try to reach a solution.

Contact the Age UK information line on:
0800 169 6565 or visit: www.ageuk.org.uk

Citizens Advice
Provides free, confidential and independent advice from over 3,000 locations. Advice is available face-to-face and by phone. Most of their bureaux offer home
visits and some also provide email advice.
Visit: www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

The Patients Association
A national health care charity that highlights patients’ concerns and needs. It provides advice and news aimed at helping people to get the best out of their health care and tells you where you can get more information and advice.

Contact the Patients Association’s helpline on: 0845 608 4455 or visit: www.patients-association.org.uk

The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS)
A free confidential service that advises and supports people who are complaining about the NHS. ICAS is independent of the NHS and has offices throughout England. To find your nearest one, visit: www.dh.gov.uk.

Healthwatch Gloucestershire
Healthwatch Gloucestershire is the new independent consumer champion for health and social care in the county. The aim of Healthwatch Gloucestershire is to give people and communities a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are commissioned and provided locally.

Healthwatch Gloucestershire gathers local people’s views and experiences of health and social care. These will be passed on to those who plan and deliver services in the county and nationally, to make sure they are providing the services people really need.

Healthwatch Gloucestershire provides people with information and advice to help them make the right choices about health and social care. It can also help them to make a complaint about NHS services, through the Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service. You can join Healthwatch Gloucestershire and get involved, making sure health and social care users in
Gloucestershire have a real voice. You could call, email or fill in a quick survey about a particular service.

If you want to do more and take part in consultations or help when Healthwatch goes out to meet the public, do get in touch. Healthwatch needs your views and experiences to help improve and influence health and social care services in Gloucestershire.

It’s really easy to join.
Visit www.healthwatchgloucestershire.co.uk
Call: 0800 652 5193 
Email: info@healthwatchgloucestershire.co.uk to find out more.