Select country
Membership information
0800 561 9000
Medicolegal advice
0800 561 9090

NHS complaints procedure – Second Stage Complaints

Post date: 06/01/2013 | Time to read article: 1 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 18/05/2020


The second stage is where the complaint is not resolved in the practice and the complainant asks for an Independent Review by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman

Most complaints are resolved at practice level. However, in some cases the complainant may not be satisfied and may ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to investigate their complaint.

You must tell complainants that they should contact the Ombudsman no later than 12 months after the event they are complaining about. Unhappiness about the outcome of the complaints process is not sufficient cause for the Ombudsman to investigate; complainants will need to provide reasons why they are still dissatisfied and consider whether or not they have suffered hardship or injustice. The Ombudsman does not investigate all cases.

Investigations are conducted in private and the SPSO has the same powers as the Court of Session to require people to give evidence or produce documents.

At the end of the investigation process a proposed report is issued, which is sent to both the complainant and organisation in question, to allow comments or suggestions for change on the draft.

Where the Ombudsman has finished investigating a complaint, a report is sent to the complainant, the board or GP practice complained about and the Scottish Parliament. A report cannot be changed once it has been laid.

Further information


Share this article

New site feature tour

Introducing an improved
online experience

You'll notice a few things have changed on our website. After asking our members what they want in an online platform, we've made it easier to access our membership benefits and created a more personalised user experience.

Why not take our quick 60-second tour? We'll show you how it all works and it should only take a minute.

Take the tour Continue to site

Medicolegal advice
0800 561 9090
Membership information
0800 561 9000

Key contact details

Should you need to contact us, our phone numbers are always visible.

Personalise your search

We'll save your profession in the "I am a..." dropdown filter for next time.

Tour completed

Now you've seen all of the updated features, it's time for you to try them out.

Continue to site
Take again