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If we are dependent on an NHS service for our health and well-being, complaining can make us feel vulnerable. However NHS Scotland explicitly welcomes feedback from service users, including complaints, and the opportunities for improvement that they provide. Your opinions are valuable to them, and in raising questions about service quality you will not be judged ungrateful, or a trouble maker.
NHS services must comply with its Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities, most of which is legally binding. The Charter covers; accessing your rights, communication and participation, confidentiality, respect, safety, and your right to complain. You can download the Charter from the Health Rights Information Scotland website.
Make your complaint as soon as possible. The deadline is six months from the event or, if you only become aware of the problem later, within 6 months of its discovery (in the latter case within 12 months of the event.) If your complaint is about a community-based NHS service such as a GP, dentist, optician or pharmacist, they should make the NHS Scotland complaints procedure available to you. The same time limits apply.
Call the NHS Inform Helpline on 0800 22 44 88 to discuss your rights as a patient.
Patient Advice and Support Services are accessible from your local Citizens Advice Bureaux
Give feedback on your experience as a patient
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