Your rights

Under Feedback and Complaints in the Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities, you have the right to:

  • give feedback, make comments, or raise concerns or complaints about the health care you receive
  • be told the outcome of any investigation into your concerns or complaints
  • independent advice and support when providing feedback
  • take your complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)

Feedback and complaints

When receiving NHS care, you or any relative have the right to:

  • give feedback
  • make comments
  • raise concerns
  • make a complaint

Before giving feedback, you should be given information about:

  • how to give feedback, raise concerns, or make a complaint about the care
  • how any feedback, comments, concerns and complaints you make will be handled

You may ask (and if you have a mental health disorder you have a right) to have an independent advocate to help you give your views.

Mediation

Mediation is a service where independent mediators help the relevant parties to reach an agreement.

You can request, or Health Boards may offer, to provide this service. Both parties must agree to take part before this can go ahead.

You can get help finding mediation services in your area by asking the Feedback and Complaints Officer at your local health board.

Investigations

You have the right to be told the outcome of any investigation into your concerns or complaints.

When making a complaint or raising a concern you can expect:

  • it to be dealt with efficiently and be properly investigated
  • a full explanation into how it has been investigated
  • to be told what action has been or will be taken as a result
  • an apology if a mistake has occurred.
  • the NHS to use your feedback to improve services

Judicial review

A judicial review is a court process that allows you to challenge a decision made by an NHS body because you think it is unlawful. It looks primarily at how a decision was made rather than what was decided.

You have the right to seek judicial review if your personal interests are affected by the decision or action of the board.

If you want a decision to be judicially reviewed, you should seek independent legal advice.

Advice and support

You have the right to independent advice and support when providing feedback or making a complaint.

Independent advice and support is available through the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS).

Find out more about the Patient Advice and Support Service

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)

You have the right to take your complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) if the NHS has fully investigated your complaint and you are still not satisfied.

Clinical negligence

You have the right to take legal action and make a claim for compensation if you have been harmed by negligent treatment.

Negligent treatment is when care provided falls below the reasonable standard and this causes physical or mental injury or death.

You may be entitled to compensation if you can prove you have been harmed by a negligent act. If you think you may be entitled to compensation, you should seek legal advice.

The Law Society of Scotland has details of solicitors who specialise in handling negligence claims.

Your responsibilities

Under Feedback and Complaints in the Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities, you have a responsibility to give feedback about the care and treatment you have received. This helps to improve services for everyone.

How to give feedback

To give feedback or make a complaint you can:

  • speak to a member of staff
  • take part in NHS surveys
  • put your comments in a suggestion box
  • use the feedback forms on Health Board websites

How to make a complaint

If you have a complaint, you can contact the Feedback and Complaints Officer at your local Health Board or primary care service provider.

Alternatively, you can contact the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) for advice and support when making a complaint.

Find out more about the Patient Advice and Support Service

Patient Experience Programme

The Patient Experience Programme supports NHS Scotland in developing ways to use patients’ experiences to inform service design and planning across the health service and drive improvement.

As part of this, NHS Boards involve patients in providing feedback on their experiences of care through a range of ways including:

  • local surveys
  • interviews
  • group discussions

In addition, there are 4 national experience surveys that provide information on the quality of health and care services from the perspective of those using them. These national surveys allow NHS Boards to compare with other areas of Scotland and to track their progress in improving the experience of patients.

The 4 national surveys are:

Patient Advice and Support Service

The Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) offers free and confidential information, advice and support to anyone who uses the NHS in Scotland.

PASS is a service offered by Citizens Advice Scotland.

What can PASS help with?

The service can provide information, advice and support to:

  • help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a patient
  • Help you access the treatment care and support you need
  • provide feedback, comments, concerns or complaints about the NHS

How to access PASS

PASS can be accessed at any Citizens Advice Bureau in Scotland.

Find out where to access the PASS across scotland

Patient Opinion

Patient Opinion is a free and independent non-profit organisation that helps patients to provide feedback about using NHS services.

How to give feedback

To give feedback, share a story on the Patient Opinion website.

Before being posted to the site, your story is checked over to:

  • ensure patient anonymity
  • avoid potential defamation of any individual staff members

Once posted, your story:

  • is passed to members of staff so that they can learn from it and improve services
  • can be responded to

How your feedback is used

Your feedback will be used to help NHS Scotland:

  • plan how to develop and improve services
  • understand the choices that patients are making in their health care
  • give doctors, nurses and managers a feel for what patients are saying about the service they manage