Pathways to effective resolution of complaints about NHS care

Research by Professor Linda Mulcahy and Joseph Patrick McAulay funded by the National Institute for Health Research

The NHS has contact with around 1.5 million people every day. Most of those people are satisfied with the service they receive, but some people have concerns about their treatment or about the treatment given to their loved one.  We want to find out more about the pathways that people chose when raising concerns about NHS care. This project will be carried out by researchers at the Centre for Sociolegal Studies, Oxford University and is part of the work of the Quality, Safety and Outcomes Policy Research unit, a multi-university collaboration funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

We are interested in complaints about healthcare, in particular finding out:-

  • how people chose where to raise their concerns,
  • what influences their choices, and
  • what factors are important to people when they raise a concern.

We want to explore several different complaint handlers as part of this project. The first phase of this project is an online survey of people who have raised a concern with the General Medical Council or the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmen.

All responses will be securely stored and only be seen by the research team. At the end of the project, we will analyse our results and make suggestions on how systems for raising concerns can be improved.

If you have any questions about this study, please email Joseph Patrick McAulay at