Quite often, I am approached by prospective new clients who want to complain about the medical care they have received through the NHS Complaints Procedure, but they are worried that doing this will harm their ongoing medical care.
NHS complaints should be handled under their Confidentiality Policy and should be kept separate from your medical records. Care should be taken to make sure the details of your complaint are only disclosed to those who have a demonstrable need to access it, such as the members of staff who are investigating your complaint. This can include the specific doctor you are complaining about. Anyone found disclosing information to others that do not have a need to see it may be dealt with under the NHS Disciplinary Procedures.
In my experience, I have found that by exhausting the complaints process, many patients see an improvement in their medical care. This is certainly not in every case but, for instance, it might be that after complaining, a patient receives an earlier medical appointment, is put forward for a second opinion or is given more information about their condition or future treatment. While they are acting as your doctor, they owe you a duty of care, regardless of whether you have complained about them or not.
The doctor you have complained about may not think it is in your best interest to continue to be your doctor. In which case, they may refer you to a different doctor. This new doctor will owe you a duty of care.
If you are unhappy about the care you are receiving from your hospital doctor for instance, you can ask your GP to refer you to a different doctor at the hospital. Alternatively, you can ask to be transferred to a different hospital altogether. You may have the benefit of a private health insurance policy that you wish to utilise.
If you are concerned about the care you are receiving from your GP and you are worried that complaining about them will harm your relationship, you can simply ask to see a different GP at all future appointments. Alternatively, you have the right to change GP practices if you wish. Your medical records will follow you to your new practice so your new GP should be made aware of all of your medical history.