Not happy with your NHS asthma care?

Find out about the NHS complaints process and get advice on how to give feedback or make a complaint if you have concerns about your asthma care, wherever you live in the UK

What is good basic asthma care?

Most people look after their asthma with help from their local doctor (GP) or asthma nurse, the healthcare team at their GP surgery, and their pharmacist.

However, in our 2019 survey The Great Asthma Divide and 2020 survey Asthma Care in a Crisis, we found that many people with asthma were not getting the most basic level of asthma care.

Good basic asthma care includes:

Find out more about getting the best from the NHS.

We’ve heard from some people with asthma that they’re having trouble accessing the GP services they need

Call our Helpline team for advice and support on 0300 222 5800, 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri (excluding Bank Holidays).

Or you can WhatsApp them on 07378 606 728.

The NHS complaints process

Wherever you live in the UK, the NHS Complaints Process sets out how you can give your feedback or complain about all NHS services:

  1. Start by giving feedback - a lot of issues can be sorted out at this stage
  2. Make an official complaint - if giving feedback hasn’t sorted out the problem, you may want to think about making an official complaint
  3. Take it further - if things haven’t changed or got better as a result of your complaint, you can choose to take your complaint to the ombudsman (an independent person who investigates complaints).

There are also NHS standards on when you can expect to hear back about your complaint.

Dr Andy Whittamore

“All NHS services, including GP surgeries, must have a complaints procedure. If the process is not clear on their website or in reception, ask a member of staff.”

Find out more about giving feedback and the complaint services in:




Northern Ireland

Giving feedback

When you’re giving feedback, try to be as clear as you can about what’s not working for you and how it’s affecting your asthma. Maybe talk to a friend or family member first or write it down.

You can give feedback by:

  • speaking to a member of staff whether that’s at the GP surgery or another NHS service. Explain the problems you’ve had and ask how they will sort them out. Sometimes this is the quickest way to solve issues.
  • completing a feedback form. Most NHS services should have a feedback form on their website or at reception. Ask the receptionist if you can’t find the form.
  • doing a Friends and Family Test (England only) After your appointment, you might be asked to complete a Friends and Family Test. This is used in different NHS services, including GP surgeries, hospitals, emergency departments, and patient transport. It’s made up of a few questions to see if the service is good enough that you’d recommend it to a friend or family member. The results help services to know what they’re doing well and what needs improving.

Making an official complaint

If you’ve given feedback but things haven’t improved, you may decide to make an official complaint. If you do want to do this, it’s best to put in your complaint as soon as possible, and at the very latest within 12 months. This helps services to put things right quickly for you and others.

When putting your complaint together, include:

  • What happened and when? Explain the problem and how it made you feel.
  • Where it happened and who was involved?
  • How it affected your ability to manage your asthma? If so, how?
  • What result do you want?

You can make your complaint verbally, in writing by email or by letter.

Getting a response

Someone should contact you within three days of your complaint to let you know when your complaint will be looked into fully.

If you talked to someone in person, you’ll be given a written record. Read it properly to check it’s correct.

When your complaint has been looked into, the service will write to you to explain what they found and what they plan to do about it.

They should also explain clearly if they’re not taking any action.

Read the response carefully to make sure you’re happy with it.

When your complaint is not resolved

If you’ve given your feedback and put in a formal complaint, but the issue hasn’t been resolved, you can choose to take it further.

You do this by contacting the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The job of the ombudsman service is to make final decisions on complaints when not everyone agrees with what’s happened so far. They can look into your complaint and decide if more action is needed.

Contact the ombudsman for England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland to find out more.

Changing to a different GP or asthma nurse

Most GP surgeries have several GPs and nurses, so if you need to you should be able to see a different GP or practice nurse.

It may be possible to change your GP surgery to another local one by registering with a new surgery.

But before you decide to do this, find out more about the new surgery and the services it offers, and if they have places for new patients. You can use this NHS GP comparison tool to compare GP services in your area.

Who can help?

If you’re worried about giving feedback or making a complaint, there are lots of places to get support around the UK.

The organisations may be different in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but the support offered is similar.


This is a charity that helps people to be heard and to complain about NHS care. Voiceability has a self-help toolkit, and information about advocacy (where someone can support you in getting your voice heard). Call freephone 0300 303 1660 or email

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Patient Advice and Liaison Services are based in hospitals and provide confidential advice, support and information. They can help you with problems, concerns and complaints about hospital services.

Patient Advice and Support Services (Scotland)

The Patient Advice and Support Service can help you give feedback or comments, raise concerns, or make complaints about the treatment you have received from the NHS Scotland.

The Community Health Council (CHC) (Wales)

You can find the contact details of your local Community Health Council to get free confidential help and advice if you have a problem or concern with NHS services.

Healthwatch (England)

Healthwatch can give advice or information about services in your area, and help you access the care you need. They can also help you put your complaint together. Use their form to have your say about local services. You can find them through your local council or Citizens Advice, or search using the Healthwatch tool here.

The Patient and Client Council (Wales)

The Patient and Client Council is there to there to give a strong voice to patients and carers using NHS services in Wales.

The Patient and Client Council Support Service (Northern Ireland)

The Patient and Client Council Support Service have a freephone support service and offer advocacy support.

Get support

Call our Helpline for support with your condition. Get advice on your medicines, symptoms or travelling with a lung condition, or just call us to say hello.

Did you find this information useful?

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 0300 222 5800 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

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