Putting things right – Scotland

3 mins read

If you're unhappy with the service you've received from an NHS Scotland organisation, you can provide feedback, make a complaint, or find some other way to put things right in healthcare.

In this article

Understanding your rights

The Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities sets out your rights when you use NHS services in Scotland. An easy read version of the charter is also available

It summarises what you are entitled to when you use NHS services and receive NHS care in Scotland. It explains what you can do if you feel that your rights have not been respected. You also have the right to be informed how your feedback, comments, concerns and complaints will be handled. 

Making a complaint

If you have concerns, you can speak to a member of staff in the first instance. This can be the best way to give feedback and resolve issues quickly.  If you can’t, or you do not wish to do this, you can ask to speak to a senior member of staff or the Feedback and Complaints Officer for the NHS organisation involved.

To make a complaint :

  • Contact your NHS Board by phone, email or online.
  • If your complaint is about a GP, pharmacy, dentist or hospital, you can find the relevant contact information from NHS inform.
  • For full details on how to make a complaint, visit NHS Inform Feedback and Complaints.

You have the right to independent advice and support when making a complaint. You may ask to have an independent advocate to help you give your views. If you have a mental health disorder, you have a right to this.

You can contact the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) for independent advice and support when making a complaint. PASS offers free and confidential advice and support to anyone who uses the NHS in Scotland. Citizens Advice Scotland provides this services, and it’s available via any Citizens Advice Bureau in Scotland.


Mediation is a service where independent mediators help the relevant parties to reach an agreement. You can request, or Health Boards may offer, to provide this service. Both parties must agree to take part before this can go ahead.

You can get help finding mediation services in your area by asking the Feedback and Complaints Officer at your local health board.

Care Opinion

You can also provide feedback by sharing your experience on the Care Opinion website.  It is an independent, non-profit organisation that enables people to post public, but anonymous, stories about health and care services.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman

If you are unhappy about the way the NHS has handled your complaint, you can complain to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman 

Patient Experience Programme

The Patient Experience Programme supports NHS Scotland to use patients’ experiences to improve health services. As part of this, NHS Boards encourage patients to provide feedback through a range of ways. This includes local surveys, interviews and group discussions. Contact your local NHS board to become involved.

Raising issues in a collective way

Good practice in health and social care comes from good conversations, shared patient and professional experiences and suggestions from parent carers. 

To get involved in wider conversations and raise issues, see:

Or get in touch with Contact Scotland Scotland.office@contact.org.uk