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Complaints and Escalations Process

NHSmail helpdesk


If you have a complaint about the NHSmail service, please raise your complaint by contacting the NHSmail Helpdesk providing a full description of the complaint including any related ticket references to allow the NHSmail Helpdesk to perform a full review.

An acknowledgement will be provided to the LA / user informing them that their complaint has been logged within 1 working day of the complaint being reported.

An NHSmail Helpdesk Subject Matter Expert (SME) will contact the LA / user who raised the complaint via telephone should any further information be required to progress their complaint. If the LA / user is not reachable, the NHSmail Helpdesk will submit a follow up email detailing the required additional information.

Once the review and necessary corrective activities have been determined, the NHSmail Helpdesk SME will follow up with the LA / user via Telephone to inform them of the findings and the corrective action that will be taken to satisfy the complaint initiator and resolve the issue/complaint raised.

Should the LA / user deem the progress of the complaint or proposed corrective action unsatisfactory, the LA / user can request the complaint to be escalated

*Please note, raising an escalation does not require an existing complaint and can be raised independently of each other.


LAs and users have the option to escalate in instances they feel have not been dealt with in an appropriate way or where the resolution provided is unsatisfactory. An escalation can also be initiated in scenarios where the progress of a complaint is unsatisfactory or a resolution to a complaint has not provided an acceptable outcome.

Support is in place to deal with escalations 24/7. The following steps should be adopted when raising an escalation to the NHSmail Helpdesk:  

  • Prior to escalating an issue, the LA / user is required to complete the Escalation Input Form and email to the NHSmail Helpdesk consisting of the following information: 
    • Affected Organisation(s)
    • Associated ticket reference ID
    • Description of the escalation including any previous action undertaken and the reason for the escalation
    • A description of the current impact
    • The desired next steps to be taken
  • On receiving the escalation containing a completed Escalation Input Form, the NHSmail Helpdesk will review the information to determine if the escalation meets the required criteria as well as the appropriate next course of action to resolve the escalation promptly and to a satisfactory outcome.
  • An LA / user will receive an acknowledgement within 1 working day from the NHSmail Helpdesk to provide confirmation that their escalation has been logged. In the event an escalation does not meet the required criteria, the LA / user will receive a response containing a clear reason for the escalation not being accepted.
  • Once the issue has been resolved, the NHSmail Helpdesk (or SME that has been dealing with escalation) will notify the originator of the escalation via telephone / email to confirm closure of the escalation before actual closure of the incident takes place.

Whilst care will be taken to ensure all escalations are dealt with fairly and as quickly as possible, the following should be considered before raising an escalation:

  • The time the incident has been open i.e. if the SLA of the incident has breached or close to being breached. The agreed incident resolution time is 48 hours excluding non-core hours, non-core hours are 22:00 until 07:00 Monday – Friday. This is effectively 3 working days.
  • Where an incident has been re-opened due to action performed that has not resolved the issue, the remaining SLA time of the incident has elapsed. Please refer to the NHSmail Incident Procedure for further information regarding the incident resolution process.

Due to the variation of escalations that may be raised, there is no set timeframe for when an escalation will be resolved however, the NHSmail Helpdesk will endeavour to provide a progress update regarding the escalation every 2 working days until the point a satisfactory resolution has been identified to allow the escalation to progress to closure. 

Clinical Impacting Issues

Issues relating to either causing or potentially causing a clinical impact will be handled as part of the Clinical Safety Incident process. Should a clinical escalation be raised to the NHSmail Helpdesk, the specific process will be initiated at the point of receipt and will not be handled as a general escalation due to the nature of the issue.   

Feedback mailbox

The NHSmail Live Service Team handle escalations via the feedback mailbox by exception only, contact with Feedback should only be taken after following the guidance above.

Please ensure that the following actions have already been taken before attempting to raise an escalation via Feedback as this may lead to delays in assisting you.

  • Ensure the incident/escalation/issue has already been recorded at the NHSmail helpdesk. If not, the LA / user will be asked to contact the helpdesk unless the incident / issue has service, security or clinical impact concerns.
  • If the incident has already been escalated, please provide a copy of the escalation form to the feedback team.
  • If a response has been provided by the Helpdesk within the agreed SLA and this has not resolved the issue, the LA/user will be advised to contact the Helpdesk to re-open the ticket requesting that the ticket is escalated.
  • Please note that tickets can be reopened up to 72 hours after the resolution information is sent to the LA/user by the Helpdesk team.

If the incident/escalation/issue remains unresolved after the above steps have been taken, it will be escalated by the NHSmail Live Service Team to the supplier.

Last Reviewed Date 22/02/2023
Updated on 23/02/2023

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