Enquiries: 01305 251150

Updated 18 February 2021

Due to the current unprecedented demand on our hospital with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic there will be a delay in investigating your complaint at this time as the clinical teams have been asked to ensure immediate patient safety care is a priority.

Please be assured that your complaint is important to us and will be fully investigated once our clinical teams are able to complete these investigations.  

If you or your family are unhappy with any aspect of your care please talk to the person in charge of the ward, clinic or department as soon as possible. We find that problems can very often be sorted out straight away.

If you feel they are unable to help you and you need information, advice or support in resolving a problem, please contact our Patient Experience Team on 0800 7838058 or by emailing PALS@dchft.nhs.uk 

Your complaint will be treated in confidence and will not be filed on your health records. It will not affect your treatment and you will not be discriminated against in any way.

The complaints officer coordinates the complaint investigation and response. The clinical teams will then undertake the investigation and provide information for the final response which is reviewed and finalised by the executive team.

To allow us to assist with your complaint as quickly as possible, it would help us if you could provide: 

  • The patient details (name, address, date of birth, telephone number and hospital number if known)
  • Your contact details (if different) and your relationship to the patient
  • A clear description of your complaint. If you are raising more than one complaint,  please number each point as this will help us to ensure we answer all of them
  • The ward/department where the complaint relates to, or the name of the member of staff involved
  • Copies of any relevant documents to assist with the complaint
  • A daytime telephone number on which we can contact you

You can contact our Patient Experience Team through letter, telephone or email as listed below.

Patient Experience Team
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Williams Avenue
Dorset DT1 2JY

Tel: 0800 7838058
Email: complaints@dchft.nhs.uk

If you would like assistance in submitting your complaint, you can contact seAp Advocacy.


If you are making a complaint on behalf of a patient we will ask for the patient’s written consent confirming they have given you permission for our Patient Experience Team to provide you with specific details about their treatment and/or care. 

You can download a consent form here.

If your complaint involves another Trust, agency or GP practice, we will need to have the patient's consent to contact them and obtain information for a joint response.

Timescales for making a complaint

A complaint should be made within 12 months of the incident occurring or within 12 months of discovering you have cause to complain. Complaints received outside of these timescales may still be considered if it is clear there are good reasons for complaining and it is still possible to investigate what happened.

What we do after receiving a complaint

The Patient Experience Team will acknowledge receipt of your complaint by telephone or in writing within three working days of it being received. We will invite you to discuss the way in which you would like your complaint to be investigated and fed back to you, and discuss the length of time we expect the investigation to take.

Should there be any delay we will contact you to explain why and agree with you when you can expect to receive a response.

If you choose to meet with staff at any point of the investigation, you are welcome to bring a relative, friend or seAp representative to support you.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

If you feel that your complaint has still not been resolved you can write to the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman. This is a free service. 

The Ombudsman, who is appointed by Parliament and is completely independent of the NHS, will decide whether or not to investigate the complaint. The Ombudsman will not usually take on a case that has not been through the NHS complaints procedure as outlined above.