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Making a complaint

Patients and visitors

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Due to the coronavrius (COVID-19) pandemic, staff are currently prioritising patient care due to the demands on our service.  As a result, complaints may take longer than usual to resolve. 

Do you have a concern?

If there's something you're unhappy with relating to your care and treatment, we'd like to know about it so that we can try to put matters right. Listening to our patients is very important to us and learning from the experience of patients or service users is something we are committed to. We believe that every complaint is an opportunity for us to better understand and improve the quality of our services.

We know that people worry about the impact making a complaint may have on their care (or the care of someone close to them). We pledge that making a complaint will never adversely affect anyone's treatment.

If you have a concern or complaint you can raise it in several ways.

Talking it through

If you are concerned about your care, or any of the services provided, please speak to a member of staff on the ward or in the department. You should always try to let the person delivering the service or their manager know that you are unhappy, so they can try to put things right for you. 

If you're staying in hospital or visiting an inpatient 

Talk to the ward sister or nurse in charge who will be wearing a distinctive red armband. He/she will listen to your concerns, agree what actions should be taken and update you on progress as required.

If your concern is not resolved to your satisfaction, you can request to speak to the matron (purple uniform) for the department.

If you are an outpatient

Please ask the staff at any reception area to put you in touch with an appropriate member of staff to speak to.

If you would rather talk to someone from outside the ward/department

You can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS provides support to patients, their families and visitors. Ask a member of staff to direct you to their office or telephone PALS on 020 7188 8801.

Making a complaint

We have tried to make our complaints process as accessible as possible.

You can also contact our complaints department on 020 7188 3514, email You can also send us your complaint using our online form.

Alternatively, you can write to the complaints team using the folowing address:

Complaints Department
Guy's Hospital
Great Maze Pond
London SE1 9RT.

Further information on the complaints process is given below.

  • Writing a complaint 

    • Ideally, all complaints should be made soon after the events you want to complain about happened. This makes it easier for everyone to remember what happened. Complaints should be made within 12 months of the date of the event. 
    • Please give as much information as you can, including your name, address and hospital number.
    • If you are raising more than one concern, make the points clear that you would like answered. This helps the investigating team to cover all the issues you would like answered.
    • You can ask a friend or relative to raise a concern or complaint on your behalf. If you do, we will ask you to sign a consent form, giving us permission to disclose your personal information to this person.
    • If you want to make a complaint but are struggling, please contact the complaints team and we will advise you about the support available or offer advice to make sure your concerns are heard. 
  • What can I expect from the complaints process?

    We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days and investigate it. We may contact you by phone or email to try to speak with you to make sure we fully understand the concerns you are raising. When we begin our investigation we will let you know how long it is likely to take. We will also keep you informed of progress, and if the investigation is going to take longer than originally thought we will explain to you the reason why.

    Once the investigation is complete, we will provide you with a written response explaining the outcome and conclusions of the investigation. Where our investigation has identified any service failure (occasions where our service fell below the standard to be expected) we will explain what actions we intend to take to help avoid that failure (or a similar failure) occurring again and the timescales for completing those actions.

    Please be aware that the complaints process cannot look at disciplinary issues, (for example whether a staff member should be sacked), 'strike off' a health professional or suspend their registration, or look at complaints about treatment provided privately unless it was paid for by the NHS.

    See also our leaflet:

  • Learning from complaints

    As a Trust we are committed to learning and making changes resulting from complaints. As service users tell us about their experience, if we can identify an improvement or change that can improve this, we will work hard to implement this change. Some examples of learning from complaints that closed in April-June 2020.





    Difficulty speaking to the team

    A telephone rota has been set up with a dedicated member of staff to answer telephone queries directed to oral surgery/Floor 23 every day of the week. The aim of this is to minimise instances of patients calling to chase their appointment and being unable to establish contact.

    Surgery and Clinical imaging and medical physics (CLIMP)

    Delays in breast ultrasound

    The radiology team and plastic surgeons recognise there are some situations when the specialist breast ultrasound team are not required to carry out an ultrasound. They are in the process of developing guidelines to support this pathway.


    Delays in referral

    To make contact with GP to inform them of the  referral process to avoided delays in maternity care for patients

    Gastrointestinal medicine and surgery (GMS)

    Delays in contacting department

    There is a new calling system has been in place since April 2020. This replaces the previous system which could only transfer calls to one phone. The new system now transfers calls to a range of different phones and allows for wider availability and greater access for our patients. In the event that all operators are busy, all voicemail messages will go to the team leader, who monitors and arranges for these to be responded to.


    Patient complained about lack of information

    A patient information leaflet has been created which provides detail about the unit and their contact information. This is currently going through the approval stage. 


    Patient complained they were not offered a chaperone

    The sonographers’ team have been asked to record on their electronic records if a patient declines a chaperone or the name of the chaperone if one was present. This will be shared with the rest of CLIMP team through the newsletter and a yearly audit will be done to ensure that this detail is filled in correctly.

    Specialist ambulatory services (SAS)

    Patient complained about clinical trial

    A new system was set up so that patients who are due medication will be called and booked in for a telephone consultation with one of the consultants. After the telephone consultation, the consultant will prepare the medication for pick up.

  • What if I am still not happy?

    If, after you have received our written response to your complaint, you are not satisfied you can request an independent review of your complaint.

    You will need to write to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), requesting a review. You should usually take your complaint to the Ombudsman within a year of when you first became aware of the problem.


Contacting our complaints department

You can also send us your complaint using our online form.


Complaints Department
Guy's Hospital
Great Maze Pond
London SE1 9RT.

Further help and useful resources

Video tips on making a complaint

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has produced a British Sign Language video featuring tips on making a complaint to the NHS.

Support for patients with learning disabilities

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman have also produced an easy read leaflet and video on complaining. 

The PHSO accessibility webpage contains useful information for people who have a learning disability or want Easy Read information. 

Contacting our complaints department

020 7188 3514


You can also send us your complaint using our online form.

Post: Complaints Department, Guy's Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT.

Further help

Making a complaint (PDF 104Kb) 


AccessAble, accessibility information about Guy's and St Thomas'




Video tips on making a complaint

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has produced a British Sign Language video featuring tips on making a complaint to the NHS.