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Dos and don'ts of making a complaint about adult social care services

This advice applies to England
10 tips for making a complaint
DoDon't
Make sure you have a good reason to complain. For example, certain medical treatments are not without risk. If the risks have been clearly explained to you, you have given valid consent to the treatment, and no professional mistakes have been made, you don't have grounds for a complaintReason to complainDon't make claims with no basis about the organisations or members of their staff. And don't use the complaints procedures to reopen concerns which have already been fully investigated and where no evidence of wrongdoing was found.
List your concerns in a clear way, giving the names of the people concerned and the dates of events that have happened. Don't forget to include your full name, date of birth, address and other contact details. In the case of NHS complaints, also give your NHS number.Be clearDon't bury your complaint in amongst lengthy documentation about things that aren't relevant.
Clearly state that you're making a complaint under the NHS or local authority complaints procedure about an issue of concernBe professionalDon't make personal attacks against employees
If you're asking for an explanation of what went wrong, be as clear as possible about the information you want, rather than asking general questionsBe specificDon't make general statements about health and care professionals. For example, a general complaint such as 'Doctors never listen to anything a patient ever says', isn&#39t helpful
Try to get help to make your complaint. Even if you don't get professional help, talk it over with someone else so that they can point out anything which isn't clearGet helpDon't wait too long before before getting help. For some sort of actions, there are time limits that you mustn't miss
Use straightforward, polite languageBe politeDon't use offensive or threatening language
Raise your concern as soon as possibleBe promptDon't make a complaint about something that happened a long time ago, unless you have a good reason for the delay
Stay focused on the main points of your complaint.Be focusedDon't let your attention start to drift onto less important issues
Think about whether making a complaint is the best way of achieving what you want. In some cases, it may be easier for you to work round a problem. But you should never suffer in silenceKnow what you wantDon't feel you have to carry on making a complaint if this no longer feels right for you. You can drop a complaint at any time
Aim to be flexible and try to work together with the organisation to solve the problemBe helpfulDon't use a complaint as a way of 'scoring points' against the organisation
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