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Patient and visitor information

Formal complaints

0191 223 1382 - Patient Relations Department

Listening ... Acting... Improving

Although the staff who look after you will do all they can to make sure that you are treated properly and promptly, it must be acknowledged that things do occasionally go wrong. However, we very much take the view that when there has been cause for complaint, it is important to acknowledge this, to put things right quickly and to learn from the experience. We will therefore investigate your concerns with those who are directly concerned with the provision of the care in question, and respond as quickly as possible.

This information tells you what to do if, for any reason, you wish to complain about your care and treatment at any of the hospitals within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust including Newcastle Hospitals Community Health, and explains the NHS Complaints Procedure, which is now the same for all parts of the NHS as well as for Local Authority Adult Services Departments.

The hospitals and associated services covered by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are:

  • Freeman Hospital
  • Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI)
  • Newcastle Dental Hospital (at the RVI)
  • The Campus for Ageing and Vitality at the former Newcastle General Hospital site (Cherryburn, Cragside and Wallington Wards, Belsay Unit, Diabetes Centre)
  • Northern Genetics Service @ Centre for Life
  • The Newcastle Fertility Centre @ Centre for Life
  • Newcastle Hospitals Community Health (i.e. all community  services eg. District Nursing, Health Visiting, Podiatry, Physiotherapy etc.)

The information on these pages can be made available in different languages and formats on request. Please contact the Patient Relations Department on 0191 223 1382.

Our complaints procedure in sign language

You can also see a narrated sign language film about our complaints procedure:

Frequently asked questions

To whom should I initially complain?Show [+]Hide [-]

Front line staff

Wherever possible you should talk to someone who is close to the cause of your immediate concern, such as the doctor, nurse or receptionist. In many cases matters can be resolved straight away.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

You may wish to raise your concerns with someone who is not directly involved in your care. The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) aims to advise and support patients, their families and carers, provide information on NHS services, listen to your concerns, suggestions or queries and help resolve problems quickly on your behalf. This service is confidential, and can be contacted on Freephone: 0800 032 02 02

If you are not happy with the outcome following discussion with PALS, they will be able to assist you to make a referral, with your agreement, to the Patient Relations Department who will coordinate the further investigation of your complaint. Click here for contact details.

Information on how to access independent advocacy to support you through the process, can also be provided by the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) if required.

ICAS can be contacted on Freephone 0808 802 3000 - this is free for both landlines and mobiles. Their contact details as are follows:

Local office: The Executive Centre Newcastle, Cuthbert House, City Road, All Saints, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE21 2ET

Office email: 



The website link gives direct access to downloads for the ICAS service including a lot of self help information.

Complaining directly to the TrustShow [+]Hide [-]

A complaint may be made verbally, in writing; or electronically

If you wish to enquire as to how to make a complaint or wish to make your complaint verbally then please telephone the Patient Relations Department on 0191 2231382 or 0191 2231454. A written record of the details of the complaint will be made and you will be sent a copy of the written record for your agreement prior to an investigation taking place.

If you wish to make a complaint in writing, you can write to:

Chief Executive,
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Headquarters,
The Freeman Hospital,
High Heaton,
Newcastle upon Tyne,

To make a complaint electronically please send details in an email to 

It is helpful if you can provide patient details, including full name, date of birth and a telephone contact number.

Who can complain?Show [+]Hide [-]

Anyone who is receiving or has received NHS care in the Trust Hospitals or Community Health Services. If the patient wishes, a relative or close friend can complain on their behalf, however the Trust may need the patient’s written permission (consent) to provide information to other parties.

If the patient has died, or is a child, or is unable to complain themselves because of physical incapacity or lack of capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the complaint may be made by a person acting as a representative.

How soon should I make a complaint?Show [+]Hide [-]

It is important to make the complaint as soon as possible after the event.

We normally investigate only those complaints that are either:

  • Made not later than 12 months after the event, or
  • Made within 12 months of you realising that you have something to complain about

These time limits can be extended at the discretion of the Trust if it is clear the complainant had good reason for not making the complaint within the time limit; and notwithstanding the delay, it is still possible to investigate matters effectively and fairly.

What can I expect from the Trust?Show [+]Hide [-]

In the case of written complaints a member of the Complaints Team will seek to contact you within three working days of receipt of your letter to discuss the issues with you how we will manage your complaint.

You will be able to tell us if you would prefer a written response or receive a telephone call from an appropriate member of staff. The discussion will also involve agreeing with you a timescale for the response to your letter of complaint. Following this discussion a letter of acknowledgement will be sent to you.

 For verbal complaints, when a member of the Complaints Team is taking full details from you. You will also be able to tell us if you would prefer a written response or to receive a telephone call from an appropriate member of staff and agree a timescale.

Following this conversation an acknowledgement letter will be sent to you with a written report of the conversation in order to ensure full and correct details have been taken. You will be asked to sign and return this statement, and the investigation will begin once this is returned to the Patient Relations Department.

What can I do if I am not satisfied with the response?Show [+]Hide [-]

If you are unhappy with your initial response to your complaint a member of the complaints team is available to discuss further options with you on 0191 223 1382 or 0191 223 1454.

However, if you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of any further attempts at local resolution, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO) to review your complaint and the Trust response. You should do this within 12 months of your complaint. Please note that the PHSO will only agree to review a complaint if you have already asked the NHS Trust involved to resolve the problem for you and this has not been possible.

For further details of the PHSO please see

Telephone 0345 015 4033

Complaints which involve services provided by more than one organisationShow [+]Hide [-]

All NHS and Local Authority Social Care organisations have a duty to cooperate in the investigation of complaints and provision of a combined response where this is appropriate. There are similar arrangements for complaints involving Indipendant Contractors providing NHS services outside hospital eg GP, Dentist, Optician, Pharmacist, who are contracted or managed by Primary Care Trusts.

In such cases you will be advised which organisation will coordinate the investigation and provide the combined response to your complaint.

What type of concerns is the Trust able to investigate?Show [+]Hide [-]

The Trust will respond to any complaint made about the services we provide at our hospitals, outpatient clinics, community clinics and those services provided in the home, as long as we have the patient’s consent to do so. We will also respond to any complaint that refers to a decision made by the Trust not to provide a service.

However, we may not be able to investigate your complaint if:

  • Your complaint is solely about care that you have received at a hospital or clinic managed by another Trust.
  • You are an employee of the Trust and the matters raised relate to your contract of employment.
  • You have stated that you are taking legal action against the Trust.
  • Your complaint refers to medical care that you have received privately, not NHS funded.
  • Your complaint is about a matter that has been the subject of a previous complaint and has already been resolved.
  • Your complaint is in respect of an alleged failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  • Your complaint involves events requiring investigation by a professional disciplinary body.

Trust contact address and telephone numberShow [+]Hide [-]

Chief Executive

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Headquarters: Freeman Hospital
High Heaton
Newcastle upon Tyne

Telephone:   (0191) 233 6161

Head of Patient Experience

Mr Andrew Pike
Head of Patient Experience
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Headquarters: Freeman Hospital
Complaints Department ( Level 1)
High Heaton
Newcastle upon Tyne

Telephone:   (0191) 233 6161

Other useful contacts, addresses and telephone numbersShow [+]Hide [-]

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Millbank Tower,

Telephone: (020) 7217 4051

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Freephone: 0800 032 0202 

Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS)

Freephone 0808 802 3000

NHS North of Tyne

Bevan House,
1 Esh Plaza,
Sir Bobby Robson Way,
Great Park,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE13 9BA

And finallyShow [+]Hide [-]

We want to know when things go wrong so we can quickly put them right for you and can learn from your experience how to improve our services for other people.

As an organisation we would wish to encourage patients and their visitors to comment on any aspects of the services they have experienced or anything that would have made their visit to Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust a more pleasant experience (including services delivered in the community)

To help you comment, we have attached a tear off comment slip in the back of our Complaints Procedures Leaflet. Comment slips may be posted to the Chief Executive. Please ask a member of staff to help you. Each suggestion will be taken seriously and wherever possible acted upon.

Alternatively you can contact us via the Trust’s web page where you can email any comments, compliments, concerns or complaints to: 

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