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How to Make a Complaint - Complaints, Comments and Compliments

Our Commitment

We want to give the best service to all our patients and clients, their relatives, carers, friends and visitors. Usually we exceed, but sometimes things can go wrong. When this happens, we want to hear about it so we can put things right.

Who can Complain?

Anyone who has used our health and social services can complain if they are:

Dissatisfied with the service provided, either to yourself, your relative or someone in your care.

Concerned that you, your relative or someone in your care has not received a service you think should be provided.

What can I Complain About?

You can complain about the services, treatment and care provided to you by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

How to Complain

Tell the person you dealing with that you are not satisfied so that, if possible, the problem can be sorted out straight away. If you cannot agree or find it hard to approach the person, ask to speak to their Manager.

If you still cannot agree or find it hard to approach the Manager, contact the Complaints Manager. This person is appointed by the Trust and is here to help you. To contact the Complaints Manager, you can:

  • Call in person;
  • Telephone;
  • Write, fax or email.

The address and telephone number is:

The Complaints Officer, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, Ambulance Headquarters, Site 30, Knockbracken Healthcare Park, Saintfield Road, Belfast, BT8 8SG

Telephone No: (028) 9040 0999 Email: Frank.Rafferty@nias.hscni.net

How Long do I have to make a Complaint?

You should complain as soon as possible, the time limits for making a complaint are:

  • Within 6 months of the event, or
  • Within 6 months of becoming aware that you have cause for complaint, provided this is not more than 12 months after the event.

The time limits can be extended, if they are good reasons, why you did not complaint sonner.

What Happens Next?

When you have contacted us your complaint will be:

  • Acknowledged within two working days;
  • Investigated thoroughly;
  • Treated in the strictest confidence; and
  • Endearvour to be answered in writing within 20 working days.

If I’m still not satisfied – What Next?

We are committed to doing our best to resolve any complaint you may have. If having received our reply you are still dissatisfied, you can ask your Health and Social Services Board for an independent review of your complaint. A specially trained person (called a ‘Convenor’) will see if there is anything else that can be done to settle your complaint. If a review will help, your complaint will be looked at again by an independent panel. You will be given a copy of the panel’s report and told about any action being taken as a result of the panel’s advice.

Our Complaint’s Manager will be able to provide further details regarding who to contact.

What if I’m still unhappy?

If you are still unhappy, you can ask the Commissioner for Complaints (the Ombudsman) to investigate a complaint about a convenor’s decision not to set up an independent panel. Although you have the right to approach the Ombudsman at any time, he will not usually take on a case which has not been through our formal complaints procedure.

Contact details for the Ombudsman are:

The Ombudsman, Progressive House, 33 Wellington Palace, Belfast, BT1 6HN
Telephone No: (028) 9023 3821 or Freephone: 0800 343424

 Other useful contacts – To help make a complaint

Throughout the complaints investigation you also have a right to get help from your local Health and Social Services Council.

The Council is an independent body set up to represent your interests in Health and Social Services. They are willing to help you at any stage of your complaint by providing advice and support. They can be contacted at:

Eastern Health and Social Services Council
1 st Floor, McKelvey House
25-27 Wellington Place
Belfast BT1 6GQ
Telephone: (028) 9032 1230 Freephone: 0800 3285420

Northern Health and Social Services Council
8 Broadway Avenue
Ballymena BT43 7AA
Telephone: (028) 2565 5777

Western Health and Social Services Council
Tyrone & Fermanagh Hospital
Omagh BT70 0NS
Telephone: (028) 8225 2555

Southern Health and Social Services Council
Quaker Buildings
High Street
Lurgan BT66 8BB
Telephone: (028) 3834 9900