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A patient's guide to going private
Private treatment

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How do I complain about private treatment?

Guide to going private - worried man

All private hospitals must have a complaints procedure and be able to provide information to their patients about how to complain. Because there is no standard complaints procedure for private healthcare, you must rely on the individual hospital/clinic’s in-house complaints system.


There is a complaints resolution process for some private hospitals, run by the Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS). The Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS) is the recognised complaints management framework in the independent healthcare sector, serving patients, the public and healthcare organisations. The Code of Practice (the Code) sets out the standards that ISCAS members agree to meet when handling complaints about their services.

Ask for a copy of the hospital or insurance company’s complaints procedure if you are making a formal complaint, and keep a record of all correspondence (phone calls, letters, emails, face to face conversations, and with whom, and write down what was said, and the date/time) as you will probably need to refer to these at a later date.  For private treatment paid for by the NHS you must still follow the private company’s complaints procedure. but you can complain to the NHS if you are unhappy about how the private treatment was arranged by the NHS.


The Patients’ Association represents the interests of patients and provides independent advice on pursuing a private complaint.  You can also get advice from Action against Medical Accidents, a charity helping patients who have suffered from medical accidents and clinical negligence and if you have a complaint about a hospital/clinic/treatment centre which subscribes to the ISCAS complaints scheme), you are entitled to a full and prompt response.  The ISCAS Code of Practice for Handling Patients’ Complaints provides a structure within which private healthcare providers may address patient complaints against providers, and/or clinicians practicing within the provider organisations and gives sound advice about how to get a satisfactory response, and is supported by the Patients Association.

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