Complaints process

Staff in the Northern Trust work very hard to provide all patients and clients with the highest possible care and treatment. We aim to provide high quality services. So if our performance is not up to standard or if you are unhappy, we need to know so that we can learn and improve the quality of services we provide. We will take your complaint seriously and treat it in confidence.

If you wish to make a complaint to the Northern Trust please try, if possible, to raise the matter with the service concerned first. If you are still dissatisfied you can make a complaint to the Chief Executive. If you complain to the Chief Executive we may ask for your consent to send your complaint to the service concerned to be thoroughly investigated and dealt with informally. In such circumstances someone will be in touch with you within 7 working days. Any action that needs to be taken will be agreed verbally with you and the need for further action clarified, if appropriate.

If you do not consent to having your complaint dealt with in this way or if you are unhappy with the informal investigation process, the issues you have raised will be dealt with as a formal complaint. In some circumstances we will have no option but to treat your complaint formally. All formal complaints will be acknowledged in writing within 2 working days and we will try to send you a written response from the Chief Executive or appropriate Director within 20 working days of your complaint having been received. Where appropriate, we may also telephone you or a meeting may be offered. If we are unable to complete our investigation within 20 working days we will write to you and offer an explanation for the delay.

You may request further investigation or discussion in order to address any outstanding issues or concerns. Again, you will receive a written response from the Chief Executive or appropriate Director regarding your outstanding issues or concerns, and a meeting may be offered.

Please see the Complaints Annual Report 2013 - 2014

Video explaining the complaints process with sign language

Northern Trust complaints process - video explaining the process with sign language

Complaints procedure - A guide for complainants


The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman

If you are not satisfied with how your complaint was handled by the Trust you can contact the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (the Ombudsman). The Ombudsman is completely independent of the Health and Personal Social Services. The service is free and all complaints are treated in the strictest confidence. Contact details are as follows:

The Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman
Progressive House
33 Wellington Place
Freephone: 0800 343424

Patient and Client Council

Free independent help, advice and support with a complaint can be obtained by contacting the Patient and Client Council. Your complaint will be dealt with confidentially.

More information on the role of the Patient and Client Council can be found on their website at

Page last updated:03 October 2018