How to complain about a GP

I feel I've had some really bad advice from my GP recently. Can you tell me how I can make a complaint?

Most of the time, our incredible NHS does a brilliant job of looking after us, but from time to time you might have an experience that actually wasn’t so great. If you want to complain about a GP there are several ways to submit complaints about doctors or a GP surgery that will ensure your complaint is handled professionally. Read on as we look at a real life example to learn more about the complaints process for GP practices and doctors, from complaining directly to a doctors surgery, to going via the Ombudsman or to the courts.

I want to complain about my GP

Get a copy of your surgery’s complaints procedure

Firstly, ask your surgery for a copy of its complaints procedure and find out who is nominated to handle complaints at your surgery.

Generally, there are two main ways to complain about your doctor:

  • To either write or speak to your GP about your complaint.
  • Or raise the issue with your local primary care trust. This is called local resolution, and most cases are resolved at this stage.

If you’re worried about complaining directly to the doctor involved, you can contact the person in charge of complaints at your local surgery first. Your complaint should always be handled sensitively.

How to escalate complaints about doctors or the NHS

If you’re still unhappy, you can refer your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who is independent of the NHS and government. Just remember that the option to complain is highly likely to be unavailable if you start any form of legal proceedings against your doctor.

Contacting the GMC for a serious complaint about a doctor

If your complaint against your doctor is serious enough to warrant discipline by the members of his profession, then you should contact the GMC and make your complaint there. If the GMC finds in your favour, then the doctor could be ‘struck off’ and not allowed to work. This could be for a set period while the doctor is retrained or it could be for life.

Taking your GP to court

You can also take your GP to court, but only if you believe your doctor’s actions have adversely affected your health and have caused you physical, mental or financial damage. This is the only process that could result in financial compensation, but it could take a long time and can be emotionally draining. Going to court can also cost a great deal of money, especially if you lose. You will require expert legal representation if you decide to go to court. You can find out more about the small claims court in this article.

Questions or queries about how health services work in the UK? Check out the rest of our articles on using health services here.

Next Steps