Making a complaint
As well as being told when we do things well, we also need to know when things don’t go so well. We understand the importance of learning from people’s experiences and so we welcome all feedback. When something has happened and you feel something should be done about it, you can support us by letting us know what the problem is as soon as possible.
We have procedures so that your complaint can be properly looked into and you can be given a considered response. A formal complaint can be made to us in a number of ways.
How to make a complaint
East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST)
Patient Experience Team
Freephone: 0800 028 3382 or 01234 243320. Phone lines are open between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday.
Or complete our online submission form to tell us what you think.
What we will need from you
If you wish to make a complaint about the service provided by us please supply the following information in the first instance:
- Your full name, address and contact details e.g. phone number and email address
- The patient's name (if you are complaining on behalf of someone else)
- The full/exact incident location
- The date and time of the incident
- The reason for your complaint.
We can receive your complaint in writing, however if you would prefer to speak to a member of the Patient Experience Team about your complaint, we are happy to discuss the details over the telephone. We will send you an acknowledgement letter in the post along with the details of your telephone conversation within three working days.
We will endeavour to provide a full written response within 25 working days. Many complaints are complex and need more detailed investigation in order to provide a full and thorough response, and so where 25 days or less is not possible, we will keep you updated.
We receive complaints from relatives, carers or friends of patients. Patients have the right to confidentiality, so where a response may breach patient confidentiality, consent will always be sought from the patient before a response is issued. We will also need proof of the complainant’s identity (e.g. copy of their passport and utility bill for proof of address). Where the patient is under 16 years old, we will need their representative (e.g. parent) to sign the consent form.
Where the patient lacks capacity to give their consent, we will need their next of kin to sign the consent form and proof of next of kin (e.g. power or letter of attorney), as well as proof of the complainant’s identity.
Where the patient has passed away, we will need the next of kin to sign the consent form and a copy of Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration (if there is no will) or a copy of the death certificate, as well as the complainant’s proof of identity.
Independent advice and help
We try to make our complaints procedure as clear as possible, but should you need any help and support during any part of the complaint process, you can access an independent organisation that will assist you free of charge. To contact POhWER, the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS), you can visit www.pohwer.net.
Or call the Patient Experience Team on 0800 028 3382 for your local area contact number.
The graph above shows the number of complaints the Trust received per month over a rolling year.
What can you do if you are still dissatisfied
We hope that we are able to respond to the issues raised in your complaint in an appropriate way. We are keen to learn from the way in which we manage all complaints to try and develop and improve our services.
If you are unhappy about our response, or feel that we have not answered the points that you have raised, you should in the first instance refer them back us, so that all appropriate attempts can be made to resolve them.
If you are still dissatisfied, you have the right to take your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who is independent of the NHS. This service is confidential and free. There are time limits for taking a complaint to the Ombudsman, although this can be waivered if they think there is a good reason to do so.
If you have any questions about whether the Ombudsman will be able to help you, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, by visiting their website www.ombudsman.org.uk/make-a-complaint and completing their online complaints form or telephone 0345 015 4033, 8.30am – 5.30pm Monday – Friday.
You can write to the Ombudsman at:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
If your complaint involves different providers (e.g. ambulance and hospital), we will liaise with those providers to ensure that, wherever possible, you receive a single response. Where this is not possible, we will ask them to respond to those parts of your complaint which concern them and we will respond to you separately.
Equal opportunities monitoring form
When we acknowledge your complaint in writing, you receive an Equal Opportunities monitoring form and it should be completed by, or on behalf of, the patient where possible. The information provided on this form is confidential and is for our own purposes to ensure that we are providing a consistent and fair service to everyone. We are also required to report on certain aspects as part of our annual complaints submission to the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre. There is no obligation to complete this form.
We encourage everyone to be open and honest about any concern they may have. Any feedback you provide will be treated confidentially and sensitively. Anyone not satisfied with the service they receive will not be discriminated against or made to feel overwhelmed by the PALS or complaints procedure.