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Patient Experience, Engagement, Feedback and Complaints

This page was last updated: November 21st, 2022

We are listening

We are passionate about patient experience and we want every one of our patients, and their relatives, to receive the best possible service when being treated at, or visiting, our hospitals.

If you are happy with the care and treatment we have given you, we would be delighted to hear from you. Our staff work very hard to give the best possible, quality care to our patients and greatly value your support and encouragement.

Sometimes, however, things don’t go to plan, and we want to assure you that whatever happens, we will always do our best to put things right and try to stop it from happening again.

It is important that you tell us if you are not happy with the care and treatment you have received. We can only put things right if you tell us what is wrong. We take all feedback seriously and will take action where appropriate.

How to give us feedback

Logo - Care Opinion

If you’ve experienced our services recently, either as a patient yourself or as a carer or friend of someone else, please visit to tell us how it was. What was good? What could have been better?

Your story will be handled confidentially by the non-profit service Care Opinion. When you post your story on Care Opinion, they publish it on their public site if they can. It is then shared with people in many different organisations working to make health and care services better and asks them to respond to the feedback.

You can share your story anonymously and Care Opinion do not share your personal details, like your email address or postcode, with anyone else.

We will respond to all comments about us on the Care Opinion website and share them with staff.

This service is independent of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and the NHS. For more information about Care Opinion and how your story is handled, visit

If you want to write a compliment letter, you can also send this to the staff on the ward or in the department, or write to our Chief Executive at The Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, TR1 3LJ. The Chief Executive replies to every thank you letter personally and informs all relevant members of staff about the compliments they receive.

Tell us about your recent experience using ‘The Friends and Family’ Survey

If you have recently been seen at one of our hospitals, you can use the Friends and Family survey to tell us anonymously what you think about the ward or service where you received your care.

You will be asked:

“Thinking about your recent visit, overall, how was your experience of our service?”

You can rank your answer from “very good” to “very poor” and also comment to explain your ranking.

We also ask you a few follow up questions related to ‘compassionate care’. You don’t have to complete these but it helps us a lot if you do.

We use your views to improve our services. The rating you give (but not your comment) is also sent to NHS England and contributes to our national ratings, so using this method is extremely important to us. We keep the comments and pass them on to the staff and managers.

Please ask your care team for a Friends and Family form on your departure, or you can click here to take the survey online.

Please note – In order to seek patient feedback to continually improve the services we provide, where a mobile number is available, we will send 1 text message containing a link to our online Friends and Family Test, following admission and/or appointment.

How to thank someone that cared for you at the hospital

Thanking a member of RCHT staff – Learning from Excellence

If you wish to thank a member of staff for the care they gave you during your stay at the RCHT, please complete this simple form. This will result in a card being sent to this person, quoting your thank you. You will not be named in this card. The RCHT reviews all nominations to explore opportunities where excellent care can be extended more widely across the organisation. Thank you for doing this, your nomination is very much appreciated!

For any questions about this please email

    How to resolve concerns quickly or make a complaint

    If you have a concern about the care that you are currently receiving, or wish to raise a concern on behalf of a current patient (inpatient or outpatient), please firstly speak to a member of staff providing the care. This could be a nurse, ward sister or matron, a doctor, other health professional or a non-clinical member of staff. They want to help you and will try to resolve your concerns right away.

    If you have tried this and it has not adequately resolved your concerns, or if you would like some help to do this, then please contact the Patient and Family Experience Team. They will listen to you and work with you to achieve a satisfactory resolution whether you are requesting information, providing feedback, raising a concern, or making a complaint.

    Contact the Patient and Family Experience Team

    Please email to or leave a voicemail on 01872 252793. We will return your call in a maximum of 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.

    Vital information to read before contacting us

    If you have any queries about your current treatment (including information about appointments and waiting times) please contact the relevant department or clinic direct.

    If you have questions about an appointment, or would like to change one, please call the phone number on your patient letter or call the switchboard on 01872 250000 and ask to be redirected to the relevant department or clinic.

    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.

    Information for Carers

    The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust recognises that carers play an important role in the continuing care of many of its patients following discharge, effectively supporting patients’ health and other care needs in the community. By implementing best practice, the Trust wishes to promote the health and independence of carers.

    Here are some initiatives that help us achieve this aim:

    Carers Passport

    This supports carers with open visiting and joint care planning. Carers will be given the passport by the ward staff. It also provides information for carer’s and their rights as carers.

    John’s Campaign Commitment

    John’s Campaign was founded in November 2014 by Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones. Behind its simple statement of purpose lies the belief that carers should not just be allowed but should be welcomed, and that a collaboration between the patients and all connected with them is crucial to their health and their well-being. John’s Campaign applies to all hospital settings: acute, community, mental health and its principles could extend to all other caring institutions where people are living away from those closest to them. In the time since the campaign was founded, over 1000 institutions have pledged support. RCHT have signed up to this pledge.

    Carer’s Policy

    The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust Carer’s policy recognises that carers play an important role in the continuing care of many of its patients following discharge, effectively picking up patients’ health and other care needs in the community. By implementing best practice, the Trust wishes to promote the health and independence of carers. The Trust commitment to carer’s is highlighted in the carer’s Policy.

    Carer’s Chairs

    Thanks to donors who have supported the RCHT Charity, five reclining chairs were purchased at the Royal Cornwall Hospital for use by carers staying overnight with someone in hospital. The bright orange fabric for the chairs has been deliberately chosen so they can easily be identified from the usual ward furniture. The five chairs, which cost £1000 each, are located in three different wards but will be available for all areas to loan as required. Ultimately it is hoped every ward will have at least one carers’ chair.

    The Carer’s Care Plan

    RCHT have designed a care plan specifically for carers to help support any identify needs that they may have. This document facilitates discussion and provides the evidence of partnership working and the holistic approach to care of our patients.

    Carers Leaflet

    The Trust’s carers information leaflet is packed with information to support carers.

    Accessible Information, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

    The Accessible Information Standard (NHS England) tells organisations how to make information accessible to patients, service users and their carers or parents whose needs relate to a disability, impairment, or sensory loss.

    Please see our Accessible Information Standard help page

    Patient Leader Programme

    RCHT aim to create a patient pool consisting of patients, relatives, carers, and service users of RCHT acute services to complement the existing Cornwall Foundation Trust Patient Leader programme; establishing trained “expert” patients by their own lived experience for a wide range of healthcare services within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

    By listening, engaging, and enabling our services users to participate in all appropriate projects, we will ensure that as a Trust we are listening to what matters to you and keep patient care at the centre of our work. Co-producing elements of our services ensures that any changes made are meaningful to both patients and staff.

    The Patient and Family Experience team aim to create a 2-tier patient leader programme to increase patient involvement (where appropriate) through forum discussions, surveys, improvement projects and recruitment.

    The Patient Experience Team aim to launch this initiative by the end of 2022; if you would like to be involved, please send your details to with your name, contact details and why you would like to be involved. We will then get in touch as soon as we are able to launch the programme.

    Stay Connected

    Keeping in touch when you’re unable to visit

    Many patients with smartphones and mobile devices are keeping in touch using our free hospital Wi-Fi. However, we know that not all patients have this technology and we are helping them to keep touch with trust devices, telephone and other messaging options.

    At the Royal Cornwall, West Cornwall and St Michael’s hospitals we have the Stay Connected service, where family members and close friends can send a message or photograph to us and we will pop these in a card and deliver directly to the ward.

    You can email leaving the patient’s name, date of birth and the name of the ward they are on (if known), together with the message or photos you want to send, or call 01872 253793 leaving your message.

    What our patients say

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