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Independent Health Complaints Advocacy

Fact Sheet

There are different reasons people make complaints. Most of the time, people want to ask questions. They want to understand what happened and why and find out what action can be taken to put things right. They might also want an apology. Complaints can also help services to make changes so that what’s happened doesn’t happen to someone else.

It can be difficult to speak up when you not happy with your NHS care and treatment. The complaints process can be long and complicated.

To make this easier, the law says you can have support from an independent advocate, and you won’t be charged for this service.

Our advocates will:

  • take time to understand your situation

  • help you decide what you want to achieve by making a complaint

  • help you understand the complaints’ process

  • explore your options at every stage of the complaint

  • help you decide what you want to do and how you want to do it

  • act on your direction if you don’t feel able to take action yourself

  • help you write letters to the right people

  • go with you to a Local Resolution Meeting with medical professionals

Our advocates won’t:

  • investigate your complaint

  • make any decisions for or about you

  • tell you what to do or give advice

Our advocacy services are independent from the NHS.

Please note that we are unable to help with:

  • taking legal action

  • NHS employee disciplinary procedures

  • complaints about private health services

Who can refer?

Anyone can make a complaint about their NHS care or the care someone else has received. Usually we will need the person’s written consent, but we understand that sometimes this isn’t possible. For example, you may wish to make a complaint on behalf of a recently deceased relative.

If you are under 16, and you can show you are able to make up your own mind about NHS treatment or care, you can refer yourself. We hope you will chat with your parents or someone you trust when making a complaint, but you can choose not to.

For more information:

You can check if we offer this service in your area using the map on our website

or get in touch:

Call: 0330 440 9000


Text: PEOPLE to 80800 followed by your message

Write: PO Box 375, Hastings, TN34 9HU


We will not talk about you outside The Advocacy People without you telling us we can, unless you tell us something which makes us think you or someone else may be:

  1. at risk of serious harm or abuse

  2. committing or assisting a serious criminal offence

or if the law tells us we have to. We will always try to tell you we are going to do this.

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