How to make a complaint

If your concerns cannot be resolved informally with the staff involved and you wish to make a complaint, please let us know as soon as possible so we can carry out a thorough investigation. This is called local resolution.
We’ll need full details of the issues you would like us to investigate, together with your name and contact information.

We encourage you to speak openly about your concerns, which will be treated in confidence, with courtesy and sensitivity.

Making a complaint

You can make a complaint in by email, letter or phone. Our opening hours are 10am to 4pm.



You can call us on 01872 252793. Please call and speak to one of our complaints officers between 10am and 4pm. Outside of these hours, you may leave a voicemail and we will respond within two working days (although the majority will be returned on the same day, except on weekends and bank holidays).


Due to current circumstances, our Drop in Service is temporarily closed until further notice.

By letter

Patient and Family Experience Team (Complaints)
Clinical Governance Office
2nd Floor Knowledge Spa
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
Cornwall TR1 3LJ

We can only investigate complaints made within 12 months of the event, under the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009. If more time has passed, you should tell us the date on which you first realised there was something to be concerned about.

We assure you that any record of your complaint will be kept separately from, and not in, your health records. You will not be treated any differently or disadvantaged because you have made a complaint, nor will you be discriminated against on the grounds of religion, gender, race/ethnicity, disability, age or sexual orientation. If you are concerned that making a complaint will affect your treatment and care, please let the Patient and Family Experience Team know immediately.

Access to health records

During the investigation into your complaint, the investigating team will most likely need access to the medical details in your health records. If you have any concerns about this please contact the Patient and Family Experience Team.

Making a complaint on behalf of someone else

If you wish to make a complaint on behalf of another person, such as a relative, a friend or a person you are looking after, we will need their written consent to discuss personal health information with you (this is called ‘Disclosure’ and is covered by the Data Protection Act 1998). We cannot disclose any information to you until we receive a signed consent form and the appropriate identification. You can download the ‘Consent form to make a complaint on patient behalf’ here [opens a pdf in your browser].

If the person you are complaining on behalf of is deceased, we will need to check that you have consent to access their personal information under the Access to Health Records Act 1990. We understand that this is a distressing time and our team of friendly, helpful staff will guide you through this process. You can download the ‘Consent form to make a complaint on behalf of a late patient’ here [opens a pdf in your browser]. If we don’t receive consent, we may only be able to provide you with a general response.

The Advocacy People

If you feel you would like some help and support in making your complaint then you can contact the Advocacy People, who are a free, independent advocacy service that can assist you. They can be contacted by phone on 0300 440 9000 or you can email them at or access their website at

What happens when we receive your complaint?

Click here to review our Complaints Policy
We aim to answer every issue you raise in an open and honest manner. If we have shortfalls in our services we will apologise and let you know what we have learned from your experience, and what action we have taken to improve our service.

  1. When we receive your complaint, a member of the Patient and Family Experience Team will contact you within two working days to acknowledge receipt of your concerns.
  2. Within three to five working days, a Complaints Officer will be in touch to advise how we will handle your complaint.
  3. We will aim to resolve your complaint within a realistic timescale and as effectively as possible. In order to do this we will need to know your desired outcome, i.e. what would resolve your complaint. We will make enquiries or undertake a full investigation into your concerns; this will depend on the type of issues you raise.
  4. Following the investigation, the Chief Nurse will write to you within the anticipated timescale. The division investigating your concerns will tell you if we need more time or if there are any delays.
  5. If during local resolution you remain unhappy with any aspect of our response to your complaint, please let us know immediately and we will do our best to resolve your concerns.

If you remain unhappy at the end of the local resolution process, you have the right to ask the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman to review your complaint and the way it has been handled. You can learn more about the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) on their website. They can also be contacted at:

What the Complaints Team cannot provide:

  • Help to claim financial compensation for clinical negligence
  • Disciplinary action for an NHS employee
  • Legal advice
  • Help with complaints about private medical treatment
  • Medical advice

Further information on the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009.

Monitoring Data

The Trust has a duty to understand the profile of the patients and communities we serve, so that we can effectively identify where access to our services can be improved. This enables us to provide services that reflect the health needs of our community. Information about you, such as about your *disability or ethnicity, will help us to address any specific group needs and allow us to check that all patient groups are provided with a quality and equitable service. We may also ask you to complete a feedback form, your cooperation is therefore most appreciated.

*Under the Equality Act 2010, a disability is defined as an identified physical or mental impairment that has a permanent or long term impact on an individual’s day to day activity.

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