Raising concerns (about health services or provision)

If you have a concern the first step would be to raise this with the service provider, ideally you will be able to resolve this informally.

However, if you have not been reassured by their response you could make a complaint, read this section for more information.

We can help you to prepare for a conversation or with writing a letter of complaint, also you could contact:

  • Healthwatch (health and social care consumer champions)
  • Most hospitals have a Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), who provide confidential advice, support and information to patients, their families and carers. Contact the hospital or visit their website for more details.
  • POhWER ( Suffolk Advocacy Service )

Click on the headings below to read more information.

Make a complaint

When making a complaint (within 12 months of the incident), you can choose to complain to either:

  • the healthcare provider: this is the organisation where you received the service
  • the commissioner: this is the organisation that paid for the service or care you received

The commissioner will vary depending on the NHS service you are complaining about:

You can contact or complain to the Integrated Care Board about support or services:

Suffolk and North East Essex ICB, email: sneeicb.complaints@nhs.net

Norfolk and Waveney ICB, email: nwicb.complaintsservice@nhs.net

If you disagree with a diagnosis you could ask for a second opinion.

Autism and/or learning disability –NHS Transforming Care Partnership

The Transforming Care programme work with the Government and other health and care organisations to make sure that people with a learning disability, autism or both who display behaviour that challenges, including people with a mental health condition get the best possible care.

You can contact the Senior Responsible Officer in Suffolk if you have any questions or concerns about the decisions being taken or the care provided for your child with Autism and/or a learning disability.

Care and Education Treatment Review factsheet from Mencap (opens PDF) (for children and young people with Autism and/or a learning disability who are ar risk of being admitted to or are currently being detained in an in-patient psychiatric service) 

Care and treatment reviews – survival guide for families from Bringing us together’ 

Ask, listen, do‘ – NHS top tips for raising concerns (children and young people with Autism and/or a learning disability)

Complain to the ombudsman

If you’re not happy with the outcome of your complaint:

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) can:

  • investigate complaints that individuals have been treated unfairly or have received a poor service
  • investigate complaints about the commissioning and provision of healthcare. 
  • usually only investigate a complaint once the NHS organisation has had a chance to resolve the issue first. 
  • conduct joint investigations with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) where a complaint includes concerns about the delivery of the health provision in EHC plans.

In association with the PHSO, the LGO can also investigate complaints about the delivery of health provision set out in plans. They cannot investigate the decision you disagree with, but can consider the decision-making process and the delivery of provision set out in EHC plans.

Disagreement resolution and mediation (EHC assessments and provision)

If you have a concern about the health needs assessment or provision as part of the EHC process you can request disagreement resolution services. In Suffolk these are provided by Anglia Care Trust.

Download the Anglia Care Trust leaflet (PDF)


You can request mediation about the health care needs or provision in an EHC plan. The health commissioners will arrange this if you are disagreeing
only with the health needs or provision, otherwise it will be the local authority who arranges mediation. This will take place within 30 days, and the mediation provider must be independent from the local authority and commissioners.

Appealing the health sections of an EHC plan

If you are appealing the education sections of a plan, there is a national trial which means you may now also include the sections relating to health or social care needs or provision.

Though the tribunal will not be able to make legally binding orders on health and social care, it is expected that their recommendations will generally be followed. 

Read the full guidance about the trial, including the duties of health commissioners and local authorities.