When things go wrong

If you are having problems, you may well need qualified legal advice. Below are useful information and links that will help explain many issues and also advise on what other help may be available.

Complaints about healthcare and treatment

If you’re not happy with the care or treatment you’ve received or you’ve been refused treatment for a condition, you have the right to complain, have your complaint investigated, and be given a full and prompt reply.

You can complain either to the service that you’re unhappy with, or you can complain to your local primary care trust (PCT) that commissioned the service. The complaint should be made as soon as possible. Complaints should normally be made within 12 months of the date of the event that you’re complaining about, or as soon as the matter first came to your attention.

Help is available from:

Patient Advice and Liaison Service:

Officers from the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) are available in all hospitals. They offer confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters to patients, their families and their carers. You can find your local PALS office at the PALS Directory

Independent Complaints Advocacy Service:

The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) is a national service that supports people who wish to make a complaint about their NHS care or treatment. Contact your local ICAS office through the hospital manager or PALS or through the following link:



Complaints about your benefits:

DWP complaints  for anything to do with:

  • Jobcentre Plus
  • The Pension Service
  • Disability and Carers Service
  • DWP Debt Management

Complaints about assessments:

PIP Assessment Complaints – Independent Assessment Services (previously known as Atos Healthcare)

PIP Assessment Complaints – Capita

ESA Assessment Complaints – Health Assessment Advisory Service (also known as Maximus or CHDA)

Complaints about Tax Credits:

Tax Credits Appeals and Complaints

How to challenge legal decisions:

Unfortunately we cannot offer qualified legal advice or represent you in Court. See our Factsheet on Legal Aid for benefit appeals, which you can find here: https://equallives.org.uk/info-and-advice/welfare-and-benefits/challenging-decisions-when-youre-unhappy/what-help-can-i-get-with-my-appeal/.  If you are not eligible for Legal Aid, there are still some solicitors who offer a free 20 minute consultation (you need to phone them and ask).

Alternatively Norfolk Community Law Service and Citizens Advice do offer appointments with solicitors. See https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/ and https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/legal-system/finding-free-or-affordable-legal-help/ 

The Bar Council have written a useful guide that may help you understand the process and also how to represent yourself in court. See www.barcouncil.org.uk/using-a-barrister/representing-yourself-in-court/

We do help with benefit appeals.  See our guide to Challenging decisions when you’re unhappy.

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