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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

Home > Patients and visitors > Making a complaint

Making a complaint

Our Trust aims to provide the best care for our patients. However, sometimes things do not go according to plan. When this happens it is important that we know as soon as possible so that action can be taken.

Your views about our services are important to us. By making comments or raising concerns, you help us to understand how patients see our services and where improvements can be made. We are also glad to hear about anything you think we are doing well.

Car Parking
If you have any complaints regarding parking please see our car parking information page

How to raise a concern or make a complaint

Step one

Often the quickest and easiest ways to resolve a problem or get an answer to any questions you may have is to speak to the staff who are caring for you

If you are not satisfied with the action taken or would like assistance in resolving your concerns please speak to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). The PALS team act independently when dealing with the concerns of patients, carers or visitors and can help negotiate prompt solutions on your behalf. Where your issues are complicated, PALS can listen and advise you about step two of the NHS complaints procedure if appropriate.

Step two

If you feel that your concerns have not been resolved informally and you wish us to investigate your complaint, please write to us. Send your letter to:

The Patient Relations Manager
The Cumberland Infirmary
Newtown Road

Alternatively, you can email

Read our complaints leaflet or easy read complaints leaflet

When writing to us please note the following:

  • Please include your name, address, date of birth and, if known, your hospital number
  • If you have many issues you would like addressed, it can be helpful to list and number your concerns
  • Please make clear what you expect as an outcome of your complaint
  • If you need assistance with making a complaint, please contact our PALS team because they can help you with this and remain independent and non-jugmental at all times
  • If you are writing on behalf of someone else, please include your own name and address, as well as the patient’s details. We will also need to have written consent from the patient whenever disclosure of personal information is necessary, so please include his/her agreement to the content of the complaint. If the patient is unable to provide written authorisation because of ill health, please contact us for advice.

Independent advice and assistance in making a complaint under the NHS Complaints Procedure is available from the Independent Complaints Advice Services (ICAS) People First. The freephone telephone number for the Cumbria area is 0300 303 8037.

Our response

The National Complaints Guidelines currently suggest that your complaint should be acknowledged within three working days where possible. There are no specific time limits to respond. The aim of our Trust and our complaints procedure is to investigate complaints thoroughly.

Non discrimination policy

Please be assured that it is strict Trust policy that patients, carers and relatives will not be discriminated against as a result of expressing concerns or making a complaint.

What is the time limit?

Normally a complaint must be made within 12 months of an incident happening or of becoming aware of the matter complained about.

Step three

If you are not satisfied with our response following our investigation at step two, you must write to us stating the reasons why you are dissatisfied. We will arrange for a review of your complaint.

If you remain dissatisfied when you receive our final response and consider that we have failed to deal with your complaint effectively or appropriately, you may ask the Health Service Ombudsman to review your complaint.

You can contact the Health Service Ombudsman at:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
Telephone: 0345 015 4033 (Mon-Fri, 08.30–17.30)

The Ombudsman will generally only consider your complaint once you have completed the Trust’s complaints procedure and received your final response. If the Ombudsman is of the opinion that North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust can do more to resolve your complaint, they will refer your complaint back to the Trust. It is therefore very important to allow the Trust every opportunity to try to resolve your complaint.