NHS Oldham CCG

Customer services

Getting it sorted

If you feel something isn't right with the care you are receiving, or if you have questions about your care, ideally the first thing to do is to raise your concern at the point of care with the person treating you.  Often things can be resolved on the spot.  

But sometimes, you may feel more comfortable speaking to someone not directly involved in your care, through a process we call informal resolution.  

Some of our Oldham Cares partners have Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) - Oldham Care Organisation (Hospital and Community Services) Pennine Care (Mental Health).  You can also contact NHS England about primary care services such as GPs, dentists, opticians or pharmacy services, contact NHS England.

These staff will  try to help you resolve issues informally with the service concerned before you need to make a complaint. PALS can be particularly helpful if your issue is urgent and you need action immediately, such as a problem with the treatment or care you receive while in hospital.

Services want to hear your feedback too - positive and negative. It's a great way to learn and is used to improve services. Many service providers have feedback forms available on their premises or websites. 


A lot of useful information is now online. There is a huge amount of information on the NHS website, about accessing services, a wide of medical conditions and staying healthy. Information about local services can be found elsewhere on our website.

Some of the questions we get asked most include:

How do I get a copy of my health (medical) records?
A request for information from health (medical) records has to be made with the organisation that holds your health records – the data controller. For example, your GP practice for hospital health records, contact the records manager or patient services manager at the relevant hospital trust. Information about how to access records held at Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust can be found here: https://www.pat.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/how-to-access-patient-records.htm

How can I find out my NHS number?
You should be able to find your NHS Number on any letter or document you have received from the NHS, including prescriptions, test results, and hospital referral or appointment letters. If you can't find your NHS Number at home, you can ask your GP practice to help you. They should be able to provide the number for you. 

Do I need to know my NHS number to register with a GP?
No. Your NHS number helps with the registration process. However, you do not need your NHS number to register with a GP practice. 

How do I get a medical card?
Medical cards are no longer issued in England. If you still have one it may have an old-style NHS Number made-up of both letters and numbers. However, in recent years this has been replaced for all patients with an NHS Number containing only numbers. 

How do I choose and register with a GP?
You can find out how to choose and register with a GP on our website here: http://www.oldhamccg.nhs.uk/Services/Your-GP/Registering


Making a complaint

You have the right to make a complaint about any aspect of NHS care, treatment or service, and this is firmly written into the NHS Constitution.

Knowing who to complain to can seem confusing, especially if more than one organisation is involved.  You can either complain to the NHS service provider directly (such as a GP or hospital) or to us as commissioner of the services, but you can't do both.

If your complaint is about more than one organisation – perhaps a complaint that includes issues about your GP, local hospital and ambulance service – you only need to make one complaint. The organisation that receives your complaint will then co-operate with the others to ensure you receive a co-ordinated response.

Broadly speaking our advice to patients wanting to complain about the care we commission is as follows.

If your complaint concerns only one provider:
We encourage you to provide directly to that provider. For example, if your complaint was about something that happened on an inpatient ward, our advice is to complain to the trust that runs that ward directly. This is because all the information needed to manage the complaint will be held within that trust and you are likely to get a quicker response if they manage the complaint.


If your complaint is more complex and involves multiple providers:
We encourage patients to complain to us directly. For example, if there was a misunderstanding between your GP and a diagnostic service which meant you were not called for a test your needed. This is because we are often better able to look at the health system as a whole to understand what lessons can be learned.


If your complaint is about the CCG, then you will also need to complain directly to us. For example if you feel we have not followed statutory guidance correctly or correctly followed our policies and procedures.

Complaints concerning primary care services such as GPs, dentists, opticians or pharmacy services can be made either directly to the service concerned to NHS England. The CCG cannot manage primary care complaints.

If you're making, or thinking about making, a complaint, someone from the independent NHS Complaints Advocacy Service can help you. Healthwatch Oldham provides this service in Oldham. The service is accessible to all Oldham residents and is completely free. They can help people to raise a formal complaint about an NHS funded service.  An advocate will also be able to attend meetings with you and review any information you're given during the complaints process. You can seek advice from an NHS complaints advocate at any stage of the process. If you decide you need some support, it's never too late to ask for help.

Complaints should normally be made within 12 months of an incident or of the matter coming to your attention. This time limit can be extended provided you have good reasons for not making the complaint sooner and it's possible to complete a fair investigation.

You can make a complaint verbally, in writing or by email. If you make your complaint verbally, a record of your complaint will be made and you'll be provided with a written copy.


NHS Oldham CCG Customer Services
NHS England Contact Centre
Northern Care Alliance (Hospital and Community Services)
Pennine Care Foundation Trust
North West Ambulance Service
Pennine MSK
Your GP Practice