Complaints and Compliments

Complaints and ComplimentsWe are proud of the services we provide to patients, but know that sometimes things can go wrong. If your experience was not what you expected, we would like to know so that we can learn from it and put things right.

We invite you to ask any questions or come to us for advice.

We welcome the views of patients, carers, friends and relatives about their experiences of using and/or visiting our services.

  1. If you have feedback or a concern about our service, please talk first to the staff treating you. Click here for more.
  2. You can also contact the Governance Team, (formally known as the Patient Advice and Liaison Service or ‘PALS’) who can provide advice, information and support in resolving any concerns.
  3. If you have a concern we have not been able to resolve, you can contact to the Complaints Team to make a formal complaint.
  4. Our Purple Point telephones can be also used by our inpatients, or their loved ones, to raise concerns or compliment staff whilst they are still in hospital.


Raising your concerns:

At the time:

If your concerns relate to any aspect of your or your loved one’s care while you or they are staying in hospital or attending an outpatient clinic, you or they should speak to a member of the ward or clinic staff as soon as possible.

If you or they do not feel able to speak directly to staff, then contact our Governance team, (previously PALS) on 0121 507 5836  or email us here.

Complaints Team

In certain circumstances, you may wish to make a formal complaint by contacting our Complaints Department.  This route is best for people who:

  • Would like their concerns raised on a formal level
  • Have raised issues with local managers but do not feel the points have been resolved to their satisfaction
    • Wish to receive a written, detailed response to the issues they have raised

Making a formal complaint is a two-stage process.

Stage one – local resolution:

The Trust has a dedicated Complaints Manager who leads the Complaints team who deal with formal complaints.

If your complaint is complex or detailed, please provide as much information as possible about what happened including where and when so that we can be sure that we understand all of your concerns.
If your complaint concerns a loved one, we may need to obtain their permission to discuss their care with you.

It is always better to make your complaint at the time or as soon as possible after the incident occurred or when you first became aware something was not right. Your complaint should be made within 12 months of the incident. This time limit can be discussed but it is there to ensure that long periods of time have not elapsed as this could prevent a full investigation taking place.

If it is appropriate, and you agree, we can arrange for you to meet and discuss your concerns with the medical and nursing staff who have been involved with your or your loved one’s care (this can often help to resolve a complaint quickly).

The Chief Executive sees every formal complaint made and every response given.
If you are dissatisfied with the response you receive, the Complaints team will be pleased to discuss the further options with you.

If all options to resolve the complaint locally have been exhausted, you can request that the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) undertakes an independent review of your complaint.

To make a formal complaint contact either:

Contact the Complaints Team

  • Fill in the complaints form here and email it to us
  • Phone: 0121 507 6440, 4080, 5892 10am – 4pm, Monday – Friday
  • Email:
  • Purple Points can be used by our inpatients or their loved ones to raise concerns or compliment staff whilst they are still in hospital. To find out more click here.

Or write to:

Toby Lewis
Chief Executive
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
City Hospital
Dudley Road
B18 7QH

Stage two – Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO):

The PHSO provides a service to the public by undertaking independent investigations into complaints that the NHS has not acted properly fairly or has provided a poor service. On conclusion of stage one, we provide details about referring your concerns  to the PHSO. In most cases, the PHSO will not investigate a complaint unless it has already been made to the Trust and all options for resolution have been explored. The PHSO has medical and nursing advisors who provide expert clinical opinion and will assist them in making any recommendations to the Trust in the event that they decide to take up your case.

The PHSO’s contact details are:

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)

Millbank Tower




Tel: 0345 015 4033

Fax: 0300 061 4000



Seeking independent help and advice:

Independent Complaints Advocacy Service:

If you would like help and advice on how to make a formal complaint about the service you have received at any local NHS hospital, you may wish to contact the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) on 0845 120 3748.  Their service is free and their advocates do not work for the NHS. ICAS can help you write your complaint and will attend meetings at the hospital with you.

Care Quality Commission:

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator for all health and social care services in England. The CQC cannot investigate individual complaints but can be contacted directly for information and advice, and to share feedback and experiences with them about health and social care services.

The CQC can be contacted via the contact details below, but also online via the following link on its website at

CQC National Correspondence



Newcastle upon Tyne


Tel: 03000 616161

Fax: 03000 616171

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8.30 – 17.30