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i wish to complain about treatment given within the NHS .

Although one party is not willing to back up this action,

I was wondering if anybody is aware, how one can go about making a formal complaint about treatment of a family member, with out the next of kins support.

As well as the for mentioned i would appreciate any advice as to the suitability of such action. AS well as the long term detrimental effect this may have on the ongoing care of the patient,my relationship with this family member in the future both the patient and relative i really do not know what to do i feel that a lot has happened that need not have, and that on occasions care and directions by some was not conjucive with current treatment and had caused an all full lot of heart ache and confusion.i am sorry if this is not really meant to be on here but please i would appreciate any type of advice with this thank you so very much for taking the time to read this.from a very confused and angry Aunt!

Kind regards J.B.

6 Replies

If it is a hospital based complaint you can contact there PALS officer who will discuss all complaints and aim to solve problems if not can at least advice you of what you need to do and where to go.

Andrea xx


Hi Jaycie,

Again, I am so sorry you are having such a rough time with Holly-Anna at the moment, you must be going through hell.

I agree that the Patient Advice and Liason Service are the best starting point - any ward, the hospital reception or switchboard should be able to tell you how to find them. However, without the permission of the patient or the next of kin, you may find it difficult - certainly in terms of confidentiality the amount of information they can feed back to you will be fairly limited.

However, it is certainly worth trying - you can have an informal and confidential discussion with them without the rest of the family knowing about it, before you make a decision about whether to make a formal complaint. You might find that just being able to talk about all your concerns and having someone impartial and sympathetic to listen will help you a lot.

Making a complaint, if it comes to that, certainly shouldn't have any detrimental effect on the long term care of the patient. Without knowing your family it is difficult to say whether it would have a detrimental effect on your relationships with all the people involved in the future. It sounds like relationships within your family are a bit problematic at the moment (if you don't mind my saying so - no offence intended) which is a very common problem when one family member is so ill and everyone is under a great deal of stress. I wonder if it is possible for you and your other family members to sit down together with someone impartial (such as a GP, counsellor or maybe a member of the ward staff) and try to discuss some of the issues that are troubling you. I'm sure a more harmonious family atmosphere, if such a thing is possible, would make this horrid situation a little easier for everyone to deal with. I know that it's not always possible, though, when emotions are running high and everyone is under a lot of stress.

It might also be possible, if you can get the permission of the next of kin, to meet with Holly-Anna's consultant and go through the events that have happened and the decisions that have been made. Again, there will be issues with confidentiality, but it might be possible if you can get the next of kin to agree to you doing this. Again, it might be better, and easier to achieve (although difficult to do, I appreciate) if you go into it with as impartial an attitude as you can, seeking to understand what has been happening and why certain decisions were made rather than complaining initially - you might find that your relatives are more willing to cooperate that way.

It's a common problem for doctors - unfortuately if the patient is not in a position to give permission for information to be divulged, doctors are only legally allowed to give information to the next of kin. The next of kin then has the responsibility to decide what information to give to other relatives, whether they can be present at discussions etc. I know that when I was very unwell my grandmother found it particularly upsetting that the medical staff would not necessarily share information with her about how I was, if my husband was not present. I now have a signed affidavit in my hospital notes stating which family members can be given information about my condition, which should help to avoid situations like that in the future - although I've been told it's not altogether binding and there may still be incidences when some family members are not given full information. I would recommend, though, that people who are prone to severe attacks that leave them in the position of being unable to communicate do perhaps consider doing something similar.

Jaycie, the most important thing I want to say to you is - talk to someone. Whether it is PALS, your own GP, a friend or a counsellor, I think you would really benefit from discussing all of these horrible events with someone impartial. I know you have severe asthma yourself and you need to take care of yourself in order to get through these traumatic events.

Hope this helps

Em H


Hello JellyBean, I hope your neice is making progress, she was kind enough to PM me once when she ""just got"" from my posting that I was down, no-one else did I will never forget her kind words just when I needed them.

Anyway, other family do count, my uncle is down as contact when I am ill in ealing cos he lives a couple of miles down the road and when I have been in ITU he has been afforded the same level of access to drs etc as an NoK would have, he is given the same info as NoK over the phone and allowed to visit when and stay with me when I have been very poorly. Maybe because at one time I was able to make my wishes known and because it is down on my notes to Dr's this is why it happens. He says they are fantastic and have always been really good with him.




I am sorry to hear you are having a rough time. I just wanted to say if you did make a complaint, patient care should not be affected. I know it wasn't in my case in March. I had been an inpatient for 6 days at costa and they had attempted to intubate me in uni city, was discharged and did not feel well the next day so went back to gp who arranged to have me readmitted.

When I arrived at costa I was taken to resus instead of medical ward where I was given nebs, IV's etc, after which a junior doctor came up listened to my chest said I had no air entry to lower lungs and to breath deeper and stop exaggerating my asthma. I was then given a script for paracetemol and antibiotics (ironic considering the day before they made me see a psychiatrist because I said I was fed up of being in costa and they took this as I was suicidal) I rang my parents who were 100miles away and was hysterically upset, I told them I wanted to come home, mum didnt want me to get train and said she would collect me in 3 hours but I wanted to be home right then so I (stupidly I now admit) got train. While in taxi on the way to station asthma nurse from home costa rang and said I was wheezy. I later found out she told my con to expect me. As soon as I got home mum took me to a and e and I was admitted for 17 days.

The upshot of my story was that my mum complained to the hospital that discharged me and the pals team were lovely. I was scared when I had to go back to the costa in May but the staff then and on subsequent occassions were fantastic and now take me seriously. They never used to as we were 2 18 year olds in a and e. Please do not be afraid of how seeking advice and making a complaint will affect your nieces care. It should be fine

love steph xx


Hi everyone,

Just to say that I don't mean to imply that other family members don't count or are held in less high regard than the next of kin, just that the legal situation is that doctors and nurses are not supposed to give information to other people without the permission of the patient or next of kin. Obviously a lot of it is down to whether you have been able to give consent in the past, and also the discretion of the individual doctors and nurses. If there is conflict in the family the medical staff often have to be especially careful about what they say to whom - and it's quite a common situation when people are really unwell and everyone is under a lot of stress.

I know that when I was ill my grandmother was really upset that some of the doctors and nurses would not give her information when my husband was not present, even though they get on well and there is no conflict between them. That is why I have taken steps to try to ensure that it does not happen again. I know it is sometimes difficult to plan these things, as no-one wants to think about being ill when they are well, but I have found that putting a few things in place and having them documented in my notes gives me real reassurance that things will be done according to my wishes when I am unable to communicate myself.

Take care all

Em H


Thank you all for the marvellous reply s and advice it is gratefully appreciated



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