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Complaining to a clinical commissioning group about services they commissioned

This advice applies to England

NHS care is usually very good and most people don’t have any problems. But occasionally things can go wrong. This page tells you about raising concerns with a clinical commissioning group.

What is a clinical commissioning group

A clinical commissioning group (CCG) is a group that all local GPs are part of. There are 211 CCGs in England. They are responsible for buying or commissioning:

  • non-emergency care in local hospitals
  • ambulance services
  • out-of-hours GP services, except where this responsibility is still with your local GP
  • community health services such as speech therapy and wheelchair services
  • maternity and new-born services
  • mental health services
  • NHS continuing care.

CCGs can commission services from any provider that meets the required standards and costs. This could be an NHS hospital, a charity or the private sector. The CCG has a legal duty to address problems which happen if the service doesn’t deliver to the required standards.

How do they deal with complaints?

If you have a problem with NHS services, and the CCG have commissioned these services, you can raise problems with them instead of complaining directly to the provider.

If you raise the problem with the CCG directly, they may decide:

  • to deal with the complaint themselves, following the NHS complaints procedure, or
  • it’s more appropriate for the provider to deal with the complaint.

In either case, the CCG will need your consent to discuss the complaint with the other organisation.

If you choose to make a complaint directly to the provider, and you aren’t happy with the outcome, you can’t then raise the same issue with CCG. You must go directly to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and ask for an independent review. However, if you do raise a concern with the provider and they fail to deal with it properly, for example, if there are unreasonable delays, you can report this to the CCG.

You can also make a complaint about the way that the CCG carries out its functions. They have to deal with your complaint following the NHS complaints procedure.

You can get details for your local clinical commissioning group from your local authority or you can find them online at: www.nhs.uk.

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