Raise a concern

Anyone can raise a concern if they feel the safety of patients or the public is at risk.

Who we can investigate

We can only investigate complaints about nurses, midwives or nursing associates.

If you have a complaint about another healthcare professional, other regulators will be able to help.

Other regulators that can support you

Regulator

Who they regulate

Phone number

General Medical Council (GMC) Doctors 0845 357 8001
General Dental Council (GDC) Dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists 020 7887 3800
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Arts therapists, biomedical scientists, chiropodists, podiatrists, clinical scientists, dieticians, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, prosthetists and orthotists, radiographers, speech and language therapists and social care workers, qualified social workers and social work students on approved degree courses in England 020 7582 0866
General Optical Council (GOC) Opticians 020 7580 3898
General Chiropractic Council (GCC) Chiropractors 020 7713 5155
General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) Osteopaths 020 7357 6655
General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC) Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians (on the voluntary register) and pharmacy premises 020 3365 3400
Care Quality Commission Health and adult social care services in England 03000 616161
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) Makes final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England 0345 015 4033
Care Council for Wales Social care workers, qualified social workers, and social work students on approved degree courses in Wales 0845 070 0399
Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC) Social care workers, qualified social workers, and social work students on approved degree courses in Northern Ireland 02890 417600

02890 239340 (Text phone)
Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Pharmacists and pharmacy premises in Northern Ireland 02890 326927
Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) Social care workers, qualified social workers, and social work students on approved degree courses in Scotland 0845 603 0891
Social Work England Social workers in England 0808 196 2274
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority Health and social care in Northern Ireland 028 9536 1111
Healthcare assistants (HCAs) are not currently regulated in the UK. If a patient or member of the public has a complaint about a healthcare assistant, they should raise their concerns with the organisation that the healthcare assistant works for.

Fitness to practise

We want to make sure every nurse, midwife and nursing associate can provide better and safer care.

One of the ways we do this is by acting when someone tells us they have a concern about someone on our register. When we consider a concern, it goes through a formal legal process which can take up to 15 months.

Below is some important information about our fitness to practise process, which you should read before making a referral:

What we can do

We can consider concerns that are serious enough to raise doubts about whether the nurse, midwife or nursing associate should be allowed to continue to practise as a registered professional, either with some form of restriction on their practice, or at all.

Examples of allegations that we can investigate include:

  • abuse of professional position, for example an improper sexual relationship with a patient or service user, discrimination against patients and colleagues
  • serious or repeated mistakes in patient care
  • serious criminal offences
  • violence
  • dishonesty or fraud
  • serious breaches of patient confidentiality
  • serious concerns about a nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s knowledge of the English language.

When we investigate, we consider:

  • whether the concerns are serious enough to raise concern about a nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s fitness to practise
  • whether we can get evidence
  • whether the nurse, midwife or nursing associate has addressed the concerns.

Why we might not investigate

If a concern doesn't suggest that their practice should be restricted, we will not investigate. We understand that sometimes people can make mistakes.

Making a mistake doesn’t necessarily mean a they should be stopped from working. When we look at a concern we consider whether it was a one-off event, how serious it was, how much they have reflected on what happened and what they have done since to learn from the mistake.

What we can't do

We can’t:

  • make a nurse, midwife or nursing associate apologise to you
  • investigate general concerns about the nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s place of work.
Act quickly

If you think there is a risk that the nurse, midwife or nursing associate may pose to patients and the public, you should make us aware immediately.

Please make sure you provide us with as much accurate information as possible. We'll use this information you provide to help us decide whether to take action against the nurse, midwife or nursing associate. In some cases, we'll decide that no further action is required.

In some serious cases, it may be necessary for us to act quickly to stop them from working or restrict their practice.

Even if the risk is not immediate, please raise your concern as soon as possible with the nurse, midwife or nursing associate’s employer if applicable. There is no time limit, but the longer ago an incident took place, the more difficult it is to investigate.

 

Accessibility

We're committed to making sure that our fitness to practise processes are accessible for everyone.

If you need help to bring your concerns to our attention, would like our information in another format, or need us to make an adjustment because of disability or injury, please get in touch with us.