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Make a complaint

We value your feedback and we are committed to investigating and learning from complaints.

We want to put things right and respond to all complaints fairly and promptly, using the information to make improvements.

We are currently receiving a very high number of contacts and unfortunately this is leading to delays in responding to telephone calls, emails and complaints. Please be assured that we value your feedback, but it may take us longer than usual to get back to you.

We recognise the wait may be distressing but are working hard to provide support for our patients, service users and members of the public, and we thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. Please be aware that aggressive and abusive behaviour directed towards members of our team – in person, via telephone, or in writing – will not be tolerated.

How to make a complaint

If you have received or are receiving care and treatment you can make a complaint. If you’re unable to complain yourself, someone else (usually a relative or friend) can make a complaint on your behalf, with your agreement.

You can make a complaint using any of the methods below:

  • Complete our online complaints form
  • Email the complaints inbox
  • Telephone 01223 216756 between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday (a complaints case manager will write down your complaint and send you a copy to check).
  • Write to us: PALS and Complaints Department, Box 53, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ
  • Drop-in: we are located near the main Addenbrooke's Hospital reception

Opening times

  • Drop-in 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
  • Closed weekends and Bank Holidays.

Other ways to complain

If you prefer, you can make a complaint about your NHS care to your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) rather than directly to us. For Cambridgeshire residents, contact Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG Patient Experience Team on 0800 2792535 or email Cambridge and Peterborough CCG.

If your complaint is about other organisations as well as Addenbrooke’s or the Rosie Hospitals, we will contact the other organisations if you wish so that you don’t have to.

What to include in your complaint

It is helpful if you provide as much information as you can, including the full name, date of birth and address of the patient, and dates of treatment if you know them. We would like to know your expectations and your desired outcome from making a complaint.

Try to make your complaint as soon as you can. Complaints should be made within 12 months of the events you are unhappy about. If the events are longer ago than this, we will consider your reasons for not complaining sooner and still investigate and respond if we can. We understand that it sometimes takes time to think about making a complaint.

We may need to look at your medical records in order to answer your complaint. Please let us know straightaway if you have any questions or concerns about this.

Please be reassured that raising a complaint will not have a negative impact on the care and treatment you or your family receive here.

Help and support

If you need help or advocacy from a source outside the hospital in order to make a complaint, you can contact an organisation which provides independent NHS complaints advocacy. For most people attending our hospitals, the organisation providing this service is POhWER (opens in a new tab), Telephone: 0300 456 2370 or email POhWER.

POhWER (opens in a new tab) will be able to direct you to other advocacy organisations if you are outside the area they cover. Advocacy services are free and independent of the NHS.

You can also contact Healthwatch (opens in a new tab) Cambridgeshire. Healthwatch is an independent organisation which ensures that people have a say in important decisions about their health and social care services in their area. Healthwatch can also signpost you to other services. If you live outside Cambridgeshire visit the Healthwatch website (opens in a new tab) to find your local Healthwatch.

If we can't resolve your complaint

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) (opens in a new tab) undertakes independent investigations into complaints which have not been resolved at a local level. This is the second stage in the complaints procedure. In most cases the PHSO will not investigate a complaint unless it has already been made to the hospital and all other options of resolution have been explored. We will tell you if we consider that we can take no further action to resolve your complaint and provide information about the PHSO.

Alternative formats

If you need information in a different format or help communicating with us, please email the accessibility team.

Useful information

What happens when I make a complaint?

We will send you a written acknowledgment of your complaint within three working days of receiving it.

The investigation of your complaint will be co-ordinated by a member of our complaints team and the contact details for this person will be in the acknowledgment letter.

The acknowledgement letter will offer you a discussion with a member of the complaints team about how your complaint will be handled, how long the investigation is likely to take and when we are likely to be able to send you our response.

We aim to respond to complaints within 30, 45 or 60 working days, depending on how complex the issues are. We will keep you updated if the investigation is likely to take longer.

In the unlikely event that it takes longer than six months to respond to your complaint in writing, we will write to you to explain the reasons why.

We usually respond to complaints in writing and send the response letter to you through the post. If you would like us to communicate with you via email, please let us know that you are happy for us to do this.

The response to your complaint will be made up of a letter signed by the Chief Executive and another letter which forms an investigation report. All investigation reports are reviewed by a member of the hospital’s executive team: the Chief Nurse, the Medical Director (or deputy) or the Chief Operating Officer.

If you are not happy with the response, the complaints case manager handling your case will be pleased to discuss how we can resolve any outstanding issues. We can send you a further written response or arrange a meeting.

If a meeting would be the best way forward, we can arrange for you to discuss your complaint with senior medical or nursing staff. It is usually best for a meeting to take place after you have received a written response to your complaint. You can bring someone with you to support you at a meeting.

If we consider that we can do nothing further to resolve your complaint locally, we will inform you of this in writing. You then have the option to request that the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) (opens in a new tab) undertakes an independent review of your complaint and how we handled it.

If your complaint is made verbally and we can resolve it to your satisfaction no later than the next working day after it is made, we will not register the issue as a formal complaint.

The complaints process at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (CUH) is based on the national NHS complaints regulations (2009).