Making a formal complaint

Trust staff are committed to resolving issues and listening to concerns so we can make service changes where necessary.

If staff in our hospitals or the PALS team have been unable to solve your concerns you may decide to make a formal complaint.  You can decide to make a formal complaint within twelve months of the issue occurring.  A formal complaint requires an investigation to look into the matters you raise.

We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days of receiving it and provide further information and a consent form if required.  Consent may be required if the person making the complaint is not the patient.  You will be appointed a case manager, who will provide you with their contact details should you need any further advice or information.

Your complaint will be investigated by the care group responsible for the service you are complaining about and they may phone you to discuss your complaint. 

We aim to reply within 30 or 45 working days (depending on the complexity of the complaint), unless we have contacted you to arrange an alternative agreed timescale.  We will provide an explanation and apologise where appropriate. We will also tell you what we are doing to try and make things better and ensure any mistakes or issues raised by you will not happen again.

To help us take forward your complaint:

Make your complaint clear. Work out what you want to say, including:

  • What happened
  • Who was involved
  • When it happened
  • Where it happened
  • How it has affected you or someone else.

Keep your complaint concise and short, use separate bullet points, or questions to make it clear what you want answered.

Include your contact details and tell us how you would like to be contacted.

State clearly what you want to achieve from your complaint, tell us what you would like us to do to put things right. This could be to apologise or act to prevent the same mistake happening again.

Complain as soon as you can, it is best to complain while events are still fresh in your mind. Complaints should be made within 12 months of when you became aware of the problem.

Ask for help if you need some support making your complaint, you can get in touch with our local advocacy provider: Advocacy People. Advocacy providers support anyone who wants to make a complaint about the NHS. 

Watch this video by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman which uses BSL and subtitles to give you tips on making a complaint to the NHS in England, including where to get advice and support.


The Advocacy People (previously SEAP) offer free, confidential and independent advice.  Advocacy People will support you through the complaint process to raise concerns about any aspect of your NHS care or treatment.  Contact Advocacy People via:

Tel: 0330 440 9000
Email: info@theadvocacypeople.org.uk
Website: www.theadvocacypeople.org.uk
Text: 80800 using keyword PEOPLE followed by your message

There are several ways to make a complaint:


Contact PALS by telephone on: 01227 783145 - 9:00am to 4:00pm, every Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays, please leave a voicemail if we are busy or closed) 


Click here to fill in our web form

Write to us at:
Complaints team
First Floor
Trust Offices
Kent and Canterbury Hospital
Ethelbert Road


Visit us:
PALS office on all three main hospital sites and a PALS officer will take down your concerns.  See the PALS page for directions to the PALS offices.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) are the final stage for unresolved complaints; they usually expect you to complain to the organisation you are unhappy with first. This is so we have the chance to look into your concerns and, where needed, put things right for you. If you are not happy with how we have handled your complaint you can contact the PHSO via:

Website: www.ombudsman.org.uk/making-complaint

Phone: 0345 015 4033

It is important you make the complaint as soon as you receive our final response, as there are time limits for the Ombudsman to look into complaints.

Our complaints team

Deputy Head of Complaints, PALS and Bereavement Services

Jen Cleverdon

Complaints Managers

Anne-Marie Rutterford

Dan Channing

Emma Hill

Steph Park