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Unhappy about your care from the NHS? There are things that you can do:

Your Right NHS Pledge

Video case study

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The nurse came to my house, she wanted to see me on my own. I told her that I had thoughts of killing myself. That was the first time I'd ever spoken about it, and she turned around and said that I was stupid. The TV was on and she sat watching Jeremy Kyle and then left. I kind of felt alone because who else can I speak to about how I'm feeling if a nurse out of all people has called me stupid.

I don't think she realised how big an impact it had. It was playing in my mind. The day after, I was speaking to my friend at like 2 o'clock in the morning because I was just so angry and frustrated.  I did end up calling into CAMHS, child and adolescent mental health services, to complain. I actually asked to speak to the manager. She said that she would call me back, but that never happened. I didn't know what I could do.

My youth worker put me in touch with a woman called Sharon Cope from Healthwatch. She was amazing, we discussed what had happened and she helped me to write a letter of complaint to CAMHS. I didn't know anything about the complaints process, I didn't know there was a complaints process!

We agreed in the end to have a meeting with someone from the Foundation Trust, the manager of CAMHS, my health watch advocate and me. We discussed what had happened, and we found some actions to move forwards. After that meeting they did do what they said they were going to do. They'd spoken to the nurse about what she'd said and asked to find me a new worker because I needed some support.

It's important for young people to complain because it helps nurses and doctors understand how they can improve what they are actually providing for young people. I lost complete faith in CAMHS after what had happened, so I got my faith back after the complaints process. 

If I knew my rights back when the nurse said what she did, things would have been different. What's important is that I can share my story to help other people know that, look, I've had an impact in my local service and you can too.

What do NHS staff say?

"Young people have a right to speak to someone if things aren't going right."

Dr Duncan Law
Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Read the video as text
Where things go wrong, then if a young person understands their rights then they may feel more able to ask about giving feedback to the service, about making a complaint, about understanding that they have a right to speak to someone if things aren't going the way that they would want them to. So it may help young people feel more engaged and more confident in coming to services because, coming to a mental health service, we know it's not an easy thing for young people to do. But if they know their rights then it may be one less barrier to taking that step to getting the help that they might need.

 What about my parents and carers?

Your mum, dad or carers can help you make a complaint. But you can complain by yourself if you want to. If you don't want your parents or carer to know about the complaint, the NHS should not tell them.

What about my mental health?

You can complain about mental health services too.

Who can help?

If you have any worries about the NHS where you live, or want help to make a complaint, there are organisations that can help:


Your local Healthwatch will listen to your concerns about the NHS. They work with services to try to make things better. They will explain how the NHS works in your area and how you can get involved.
They can explain how to make a complaint, and what to do if you aren’t happy with how it's been dealt with.

Find out more on the Healthwatch England website


If you are worried about something that's happened in a hospital, you can talk to PALS. PALS can try to solve your problem and help you decide what to do.
They will have an office in the hospital and this should be easy to find. You can find out about your local PALS on the NHS Choices Website