About us


Our Story

The Patients Association was first established in 1963, which makes it one of the oldest independent charities in the UK. The Patients Association was set up in 1963 by Helen Hodgson, a part-time teacher who was motivated by recent events concerning the drug thalidomide, and reports of patients receiving the wrong treatment and tests being carried out on patients without their informed consent.

Over the years the Patients Association has grown and now we investigate many different health and care concerns that patients raise with us, as well as monitoring trends in patient satisfaction and NHS targets, promoting good practice amongst healthcare professionals, supporting patients through unique casework, leading two UK parliamentary committees as well as undertaking our own research.

Our focus from day one though, has been our helpline, set up to help patients who may have a complaint or question about a healthcare or social care provider.

From the calls we receive via our helpline, we capture thousands of accounts each year from patients, carers, family members and friends about peoples’ experiences of the health and social care service. We use this knowledge to campaign for real improvements across the UK. In addition, our Helpline provides valuable signposting and information for patients and supports them as they navigate through the healthcare services.

We do not receive any government funding, so we are completely reliant on donations, sponsors and grants.


How we help

We ensure that the opinions of patients are gathered on a wide variety of health and social care issues. This is achieved by carrying out surveys, focus groups, listening events and obtaining feedback from our Ambassador network. Concerns that we hear via these channels form the basis of our campaigns which are targeted at various stakeholders such as parliamentarians, the media, civil servants, other charities and professional bodies.


The Patients Association’s charity number is 1006733.