Compliments and Complaints

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Making a complaint to NECS

We welcome feedback about NHS services, both positive and negative. If you are unhappy with the treatment or service that you, a relative or someone you care for has received from your local NHS, you have the right to make a complaint and have it looked into, and to get a response.

Our Complaints Team manages complaints about NECS and also supports the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (NENC ICB) with the management of complaints and concerns.


How we will manage your information

NECS will retain personal information for the purposes of a complaint investigation only. To help us make improvements to the services you receive, anonymised information about your complaint may be shared as part of our reporting process. Should you have any concerns about these arrangements please contact us.


Where do I send my complaint?

This will depend on the service your complaint is about.

A service provided by NECS

Please contact the NECS complaints team, details are provided below:


Tel:               0191 374 4218

Post:             Complaints Team, North of England Care System Support, John Snow House, University Science Park, Durham, DH1 3YG.

A service provided by a doctor, dentist, pharmacist or optometrist

Please contact the provider directly in the first instance (eg. GP practice). If you would prefer not to approach the provider about the complaint, please contact the Primary Care Complaints Team within the NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, contact details are below:


Tel:               0191 512 8277

Post:             Primary Care Complaints Team, North East and North Cumbria ICB, Riverside House, Goldcrest  Way, Newburn Riverside Business Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE15 8NY.

The commissioning of a service by the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (NENC ICB)

Please contact the ICB Complaints Team – details are provided below:


Tel:               0191 374 4218

Post:           Complaints Team, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, Pemberton House, Colima Avenue, Sunderland, SR5 3XB.

Other NHS services

If you have a concern, complaint, or compliment about the provider of NHS services such as a hospital, mental health service, urgent care service, ambulance service or community service, please contact the provider directly in the first instance. If you would prefer not to approach the provider about the complaint, then please contact the ICB as below, but please note that the ICB will still need to contact the provider to investigate your complaint.


Tel:               0191 374 4218

Post:           Complaints Team, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, Pemberton House, Colima Avenue, Sunderland, SR5 3XB.


How will my complaint be handled?

We aim to make sure all complaints are handled well and that appropriate action is taken to the complainant’s satisfaction. You can make your complaint in writing, by email, via a complaint form or verbally. If you make your complaint verbally, you will be asked to sign and return a written record to ensure that you agree with the contents.

Your complaint will be acknowledged within three working days of receipt and fully investigated in a manner that is fair both to you and the staff involved. If failings are identified during the investigation, these will help us to improve the quality of local health services. You will receive a written response to your complaint which will include information on the service improvements we have identified.

To find out more about the NHS complaints procedure, please visit the NHS Choices website complaints page. The complaints information leaflet also provides information about the complaints process.

Face to face meetings can be arranged by appointment with the Complaints Team.

The care that you or your family receive will not be compromised as a result of raising a complaint / concern.

Information about complaints is available in other languages and formats upon request.


Should I complain to the provider or commissioner of an NHS service?

In the majority of cases, complaints about the care you have received can be handled by the provider of that care. However, you are also entitled to complain to the commissioner of these services if that is your preference.

Complaining to the commissioner may be the right option if you are not comfortable complaining directly to your healthcare provider. However, the healthcare provider will normally be given the opportunity to investigate and respond to your complaint directly.

Please note, if you have already complained to your healthcare provider, the commissioner will not be able to re-investigate the same concerns. If you remain unhappy following a response to your complaint, you should contact either your healthcare provider or the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO), see below for more information about the PHSO.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can my issue be resolved without formally complaining?

You can raise your concerns immediately by speaking to the provider of care involved. This might give you the response you require without having to take the matter further.

You can also contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who provide a range of advice and guidance and can help to resolve concerns or problems about services and providing advice on the complaints process. More information about PALS is available here – What is PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)? – NHS (

Who can complain?

Anyone can complain about NHS services or treatment they have received or if they have been affected by the actions or decisions of an NHS organisation or primary care provider (such as a GP practice, dentist, optometrist, or pharmacy). If you are unable to complain yourself, someone can act on your behalf with your consent.


When should I make a complaint?

A complaint should be made within 12 months from the date the issue occurred or when it came to your attention. Extenuating circumstances will be taken into consideration.


What happens if my complaint involves a number of organisations?

If your complaint involves more than one NHS organisation or the NHS and social care (provided by the local authority), you can make your complaint to just one of the organisations involved and they will liaise with the other organisations and arrange for you to receive a single, coordinated response.

Who can help me make a complaint?

Independent Complaints Advocacy (ICA) services can guide and support you through the complaints process. They can help you put your complaint in writing and attend meetings with you; however, the ICA Team does not investigate complaints.

Cumberland, Westmorland & Furness, Redcar & Cleveland, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough 

People First
Telephone: 03003 038037

Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside

Carers Federation
Telephone: 0808 802 3000


Your Voice Counts
Telephone:  0800 048 7856

Northumberland and Sunderland

Telephone: 0300 303 1660


Stockton ICA
Telephone: 0800 304 7538

What happens if I am unhappy with the response?

If you remain unhappy with how your complaint has been handled following the conclusion of local resolution, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to review your complaint. You can contact the PHSO at the address below:

Post:      PHSO, The Exchange 3rd floor, 3 New York Street, Manchester, M1 4HN

Tel:        0345 015 4033



What is the role of Healthwatch?

Healthwatch is an organisation set up to get your opinion and find out what matters to you to help make sure your views shape the support you need. Local Healthwatch provides information about access to services and choices available to help people by taking more control of their own health, treatment and care.

For more information, go to your local Healthwatch website.
For general enquiries, call 03000 683 000

Find out more about NECS complaints

Summary of NECS annual complaints report, 2022 / 2023

  • 31 NECS corporate complaints / concerns were received in the year.
  • Six of the NECS corporate cases were handled on a formal basis and all were acknowledged by the Complaints Team within the target timescale of three working days.
  • The services raised most frequently in NECS cases were the Cervical Screening Administration Service (CSAS) (12) and the Continuing Healthcare (CHC) service (12).
  • Four NECS formal complaints were closed in the year, three were upheld/partially upheld and service improvements were introduced as a result of complaint investigations.
  • In addition to the above, 63 compliments were recorded by the NECS Complaints Team, 59 of which related to NECS: CHC Team (55), Complaints Team (one), Surge Team (one), Provider Management Team (one) and Finance Team / Complaints Team (one).