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How to complain about care

If you have a complaint about the care you’ve received or want to challenge a decision regarding your care, you have certain rights.

What can I complain to my local health trust about?

You can complain about anything that your local health trust does if it directly affects your care. This includes if:

  • the health trust has assessed you as not needing a service but you believe you need it
  • there have been delays or errors in dealing with your case
  • the services arranged for you are not meeting your needs
  • you’re being asked to wait a long time for equipment or adaptations

How do I complain or appeal to my Health Trust?

Firstly, you should try to resolve the problem by having an informal conversation about it with the service provider, such as a care home manager, or your local social services department. You should have been given the name of somebody to talk to if you have a problem.

If you’re not happy with the outcome, ask for a copy of your Health Trust’s formal complaints procedure. Each Health Trust must have one and make it available to the public. You can find it on your Health Trust website.

If you’re unhappy with the response from the HSC Trust, then you need to approach the Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman, who may be able to investigate further.

If your care is provided by an independent agency on behalf of the Health Trust, you can still complain to the Health Trust about any difficulties, as they remain responsible for making sure you receive suitable care.

What if I’m unhappy with the outcome of my complaint?

If you’re unhappy with the outcome of the complaints procedure carried out by your local authority, you can go to the Local Government Ombudsman. You have the right to have your views and wishes respected and to be treated with dignity at all times.

There are also new rights of complaint for self-funders of care services. If you fund your own care and you need to make a complaint, contact the Ombudsman and ask about its independent complaints review service.

What should I do if I’ve been mistreated?

If you experience any kind of mistreatment by someone who is caring for you, should contact your local authority. They have a duty to follow up concerns.

You can also contact the Age NI Advice & Advocacy Service on 0808 808 7575 to discuss the situation.

Age NI Advice Service

Every year our Advice Service deals with thousands of calls from older people in need. Call us today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.

Call freephone 0808 808 7575
Monday - Friday 9am – 5pm 

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Last updated: Jan 16 2024

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