Comments & Complaints

We want to provide the best service that we can for you at the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This leaflet gives you information about how to raise a concern or make a formal complaint.

Help us to help you

We welcome suggestions, comments and constructive criticism from patients, their families and visitors so we can improve the quality of our patient care.

If you have a problem we want to be able to put it right as quickly as possible. All concerns are taken seriously and are used to help us improve the quality of services we provide.

Any complaint that you make will not be held against you personally or affect any ongoing or future care and treatment for you or your family.

How to raise a concern

Any concerns that you have are often best dealt with when they arise. We would always encourage you to raise concerns with a member of staff who knows you and your situation (such as a doctor, nurse or therapist) or their manager. Staff will seek to resolve your problems promptly.

Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS): here to listen and here to help informally and formally.

If you remain unhappy or would prefer or speak to somebody separate from the service, you can contact the Patients Advice and Liaison Team (PALS).

PALS is a free confidential service to support you in expressing your concerns, complaints, or compliments.

Our PALS teams aims to support you as a patient, or carer, to resolve concerns or issues you may have about any of our hospital services.

If you are unable to resolve your issue you can contact the PALS teams:

Bedford Hospital

Tel: 01234 795814 or 01234 355122 ext 4629
Write to:
The PALS Team, Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, South Wing, Kempston Road, Bedford, MK42 9DJ.

Luton & Dunstable Hospital

Tel: 01582 497990
Write to:
PALS, L&D University Hospital, Lewsey Road, Luton, Beds, LU4 0DZ

What we will do

Whoever you ask to investigate your concern will do their best to sort out the problem as quickly as possible. Sometimes they may need to involve other staff to establish what has happened and to decide what action to take.

We will agree with you how to manage your concern, and together we will be able to agree on the timeframes involved.

You can expect a thorough investigation as well as the opportunity to meet with relevant managers, if that is appropriate.

This is part of the complaints process and you will not be treated differently as a result of raising a concern and no documentation with regard to your concerns will be included in your medical records.

Where we are able to, we will work on your behalf to resolve your issue. Sometimes we are unable to get the resolution you would like and you may then want to make a formal complaint.


Where you have been unable to resolve your concerns informally through PALS, or if your concern is serious, you might want to make a formal complaint.

Complainants, or patients on behalf of whom a complaint is made, will not be discriminated against on the grounds of race, gender, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation or any other unjustifiable reason.

We treat anyone who makes a complaint on behalf of themselves or others equally and fairly.
Their care and treatment at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will not be adversely affected because a complaint has been made.

Our aim is to be patient-focused, open, frank, and understanding.

We will try to resolve your concerns efficiently and appropriately, with a reasonable and proportionate response and within an agreed timescale. We will keep you informed as to the progress of the investigation.

Once you have made a complaint, if it is on behalf of someone else, you will receive a consent form for signature. The consent form needs to be completed by the patient, his/her representative, or the nominated next of kin or Power of Attorney, and then returned to us as soon as possible.

Once the completed, signed consent form is received by our Complaints Department our staff can access the medical records and begin the investigation. We cannot proceed with an investigation until we have written consent.

We respond to formal complaints and we aim to respond within 45 working days.

Should a complaint cover more than one organisation or care provider an agreement will be reached between them as to the most appropriate organisation to coordinate a response.

You will receive a written response to your formal complaint from the Chief Executive giving you the outcome of our investigation, and if any failings were found, the steps being taken to prevent it from happening again, and any learning that came from your complaint.

If you are not happy with the response you receive, you may contact us again. Following our further response, if you remain unsatisfied you can refer your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) as an independent body who has the final say on local NHS complaint outcomes.

If you would like to contact the Complaints Teams, here are the details:

Bedford Hospital

Tel: 01234 792680
Write to:
The Chief Executive Complaints Department, Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, South Wing, Kempston Road, Bedfordshire, MK42 9DJ

Luton & Dunstable Hospital

Tel: 01582 497002
Write to:
The Complaints Department, Quality Hub, Luton and Dunstable Hospital, Lewsey Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU4 0DZ

Your complaint will be acknowledged within three working days, either by email or in writing.

What does the hospital need to know about my complaint?

Please supply details of what you want to complain about. It helps if you number the questions. Please indicate how you would like your complaint to be resolved and the outcome you hope for.

Your complaint should give as much information as possible about what, where and when it happened. Do not forget to include your full name, address, telephone number, date of birth and hospital number if you know it. Wherever possible, you should give the name and job title of any member of staff involved in the complaint.

Please note

If you need help and English is not your first language, we will provide interpreting and translation services where necessary.

Who can complain

Anyone who is receiving, or has received treatment or services can complain. You can complain for yourself, but if you complain on behalf of i.e. a relative, or a child, you must have their consent to represent them. Please make sure you enclose the written consent and keep a copy of the correspondence sent to the Trust.

If you would like independent help with making your complaint, Advocacy 1st can provide this.

Advocacy 1st is a free, independent service provided by advocates who specialise in the Care Act, Mental Capacity Act and the Mental Health Act.

Advocacy 1st can help you understand your rights and make sure you are included in decisions about your care. We explain the options available to you to help you to make informed choices about your life. We can also assist you in speaking up about the care and treatment you receive.

Voiceability independent advocacy

Voiceability – Freephone: 0300 303 1660

When should I complain?

It is always best to make your complaint as soon as possible and not more than 12 months after the incident.

The Chief Executive has discretion to waive this time limit if you have good reason for not having made the complaint sooner and if it still possible to investigate the complaint effectively.


The managers and staff involved with your complaint may, if appropriate, invite you to attend a meeting to discuss particular issues. If you do not receive this offer and feel that a meeting would be beneficial, please do ask.

Can I take my complaint further?

If you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint, you can ask for a meeting or for us to explain or clarify our response or discuss other possible resolution options.

If after this, you still feel that your concerns have not been resolved, you have the right to ask the The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman to review your case. You should do this within six months of our final response to you.

The Parliamentary Health Service (PHSO)

The Health Service Ombudsman is completely independent of both the NHS and the Government. They will first ensure your complaint is within their jurisdiction. They may check that everything has been done by the hospital to resolve your complaint and if they think that more can be done, they may refer the issues back to the hospital.

The Parliamentary Health Service
Ombudsman, 11th Floor, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP
Tel: 020 7217 4051

Comments, Compliments and Suggestions

We value feedback about the care we provide and are always pleased to hear your comments and compliments about our staff and services as well as concerns, suggestions and comments on how we can improve. If you have been particularly pleased with any of our services, kindly let us know. Any compliments received are shared with the staff and team concerned and inform good practice across the Trust. You can also compliment the team or member of staff directly, if you prefer.


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