We are listening
We are passionate about patient experience and we want every one of our patients, and their relatives, to receive the best possible service when being treated at, or visiting, our hospitals.
If you are happy with the care and treatment we have given you, we would be delighted to hear from you. Our staff work very hard to give the best possible, quality care to our patients and greatly value your support and encouragement.
Sometimes, however, things don’t go to plan. We want to assure you that whatever happens, we will always do our best to put things right and try to stop it from happening again.
It is important that you tell us if you are not happy with the care and treatment you have received. We can only put things right if you tell us what is wrong. We take all feedback seriously and will take action where appropriate.
Please see our Annual Complaints Report 2022/23 (PDF only, 1.07 MB)
Vital information to read before contacting us
If you have any queries about your current treatment (including information about appointments and waiting times) please contact the relevant department or clinic directly.
If you have questions about an appointment, or would like to change one, please call the phone number on your patient letter or call the switchboard on 01872 250000 and ask to be redirected to the relevant department or clinic.
How to give us feedback
We take all feedback seriously and will take action where appropriate. The various methods of providing feedback are listed below.
To tell us about your experience of our services recently, please visit Care Opinion’s website to tell us how it was. What was good? What could have been better?
Your story will be handled confidentially by the non-profit service Care Opinion. When you post your story on Care Opinion, they publish it on their public site if they can. It is then shared with people in many different organisations working to make health and care services better and asks them to respond to the feedback.
You can share your story anonymously and Care Opinion does not share your personal details, like your email address or postcode, with anyone else.
This service is independent of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and the NHS. For more information about Care Opinion and how your story is handled, visit www.careopinion.org.uk.
Friends and Family Test
Patients and friends of family of those who have recently been seen at one of our hospitals can use the Friends and Family Test to tell us anonymously what you think about the ward or service where your loved one received care. You can follow this link or scan the QR Code to access the survey online: www.oc-meridian.com/OCQ/u/RCHT191
Note: In order to seek patient feedback to continually improve the services we provide, where a mobile number is available, we will send 1 text message containing a link to our online Friends and Family Test, following admission and/or appointment.
How to thank someone who cared for you at hospital
If you wish to thank a member of staff for the care they gave you during your stay at the RCHT, please email the Learning From Excellence team on firstname.lastname@example.org. This will result in a card being sent to this person, quoting your thank-you. You will not be named in this card. The RCHT reviews all nominations to explore opportunities where excellent care can be extended more widely across the organisation. Thank you for doing this, your nomination is very much appreciated!
Making a complaint or raising a concern
If you have a concern about the care that your relative is currently receiving, please firstly speak to a member of staff providing their care. If you have tried this and it has not adequately resolved your concerns, or if you would like help to do this, then please contact the Patient and Family Experience Team. They will listen to you and work with you to achieve a satisfactory resolution whether you are requesting information, providing feedback, raising a concern, or making a complaint.
How to make a complaint
If your concerns cannot be resolved informally with the staff involved and you wish to make a complaint, please let us know as soon as possible so we can carry out a thorough investigation. This is called local resolution.
We will need full details of the issues you would like us to investigate, together with your name and contact information. We encourage you to speak openly about your concerns, which will be treated in confidence, with courtesy and sensitivity.
You can make a complaint in by email, letter or phone. Our opening hours are 10am to 4pm.
01872 252793 10am to 4pm.
Outside the above hours, you may leave a voicemail and we will respond within two working days.
Letter / Post
Patient and Family Experience Team (Complaints),
Clinical Governance Office,
2nd Floor Knowledge Spa,
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust,
Cornwall, TR1 3LJ
We can only investigate complaints made within 12 months of the event, under the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009. If more time has passed, you should tell us the date on which you first realised there was something to be concerned about.
We assure you that any record of your complaint will be kept separately from, and not in, your health records. You will not be treated any differently or disadvantaged because you have made a complaint, nor will you be discriminated against on the grounds of religion, gender, race/ethnicity, disability, age or sexual orientation. If you are concerned that making a complaint will affect your treatment and care, please let the Patient and Family Experience Team know immediately.
Making a complaint on behalf of someone else
If you wish to make a complaint on behalf of another person, such as a relative, a friend or a person you are looking after, we will need their written consent to discuss personal health information with you (this is called ‘Disclosure’ and is covered by the Data Protection Act 1998). We cannot disclose any information to you until we receive a signed consent form and the appropriate identification. You can download the ‘Consent form to make a complaint on patient behalf’ here.
If the person you are complaining on behalf of is deceased, we will need to check that you have consent to access their personal information under the Access to Health Records Act 1990. We understand that this is a distressing time and our team of friendly, helpful staff will guide you through this process. You can download the ‘Consent form to make a complaint on behalf of a late patient’ here. If we don’t receive consent, we may only be able to provide you with a general response.
The Advocacy People
If you feel you would like some help and support in making your complaint then you can contact the Advocacy People. They are a free, independent advocacy service that can assist you. They can be contacted via the details below:
What happens when we receive your complaint?
Click here to review our Complaints Policy
We aim to answer every issue you raise in an open and honest manner. If we have shortfalls in our services we will apologise and let you know what we have learned from your experience, and what action we have taken to improve our service.
- When we receive your complaint, a member of the Patient and Family Experience Team will contact you within two working days to acknowledge receipt of your concerns.
- Within three to five working days, a Complaints Officer will be in touch to advise how we will handle your complaint.
- We will aim to resolve your complaint within a realistic timescale and as effectively as possible. In order to do this we will need to know your desired outcome, i.e. what would resolve your complaint. We will make enquiries or undertake a full investigation into your concerns; this will depend on the type of issues you raise.
- Following the investigation, the Chief Nurse will write to you within the anticipated timescale. The division investigating your concerns will tell you if we need more time or if there are any delays.
- If during local resolution you remain unhappy with any aspect of our response to your complaint, please let us know immediately and we will do our best to resolve your concerns.
If you remain unhappy at the end of the local resolution process, you have the right to ask the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman to review your complaint and the way it has been handled. You can learn more about the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) on their website. They can also be contacted at:
What the Complaints Team cannot provide:
- Help to claim financial compensation for clinical negligence
- Disciplinary action for an NHS employee
- Legal advice
- Help with complaints about private medical treatment
- Medical advice
Access to health records
During the investigation into your complaint, the investigating team will most likely need access to the medical details in your health records. If you have any concerns about this please contact the Patient and Family Experience Team.
The Trust has a duty to understand the profile of the patients and communities we serve, so that we can effectively identify where access to our services can be improved. This enables us to provide services that reflect the health needs of our community. Information about you, such as about your *disability or ethnicity, will help us to address any specific group needs and allow us to check that all patient groups are provided with a quality and equitable service. We may also ask you to complete a feedback form, your cooperation is therefore most appreciated.
*Under the Equality Act 2010, a disability is defined as an identified physical or mental impairment that has a permanent or long term impact on an individual’s day-to-day activity.
Patient Leader Programme
RCHT aims to create a patient pool consisting of patients, relatives, carers, and service users of RCHT acute services to complement the existing Cornwall Foundation Trust Patient Leader programme; establishing trained “expert” patients by their own lived experience for a wide range of healthcare services within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
By listening, engaging, and enabling our services users to participate in all appropriate projects, we will ensure that as a Trust we are listening to what matters to you and keep patient care at the centre of our work. Co-producing elements of our services ensures that any changes made are meaningful to both patients and staff.
The Patient and Family Experience team aim to create a 2-tier patient leader programme to increase patient involvement (where appropriate) through forum discussions, surveys, improvement projects and recruitment.
The Programme successfully launched in 2023; if you would like to be involved or would like information on the programme, please contact the team at email@example.com with your name, contact details and why you would like to be involved.
Keeping in touch when you’re unable to visit
Many patients with smartphones and mobile devices are keeping in touch using our free hospital Wi-Fi. However, we know that not all patients have this technology and we are helping them to keep touch with trust devices, telephone and other messaging options.
At the Royal Cornwall, West Cornwall and St Michael’s hospitals we have the Stay Connected service, where family members and close friends can send a message or photograph to us and we will pop these in a card and deliver directly to the ward.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org leaving the patient’s name, date of birth and the name of the ward they are on (if known), together with the message or photos you want to send, or call 01872 253793 leaving your message.