NHS and Social Care Complaints Advocacy On many occasions, individuals approach Advocacy Focus because they feel unfairly or poorly treated by the NHS or Social Care providers that they have access to. This service is designed to support anyone who feels they cannot initiate and complete a formal complaint alone. We can support you through the NHS or Social Care complaints process. You also have the right to be listened to and treated with respect and dignity throughout the process. NHS Complaints We are trained to help people use the NHS complaints process if they wish to complain about: NHS hospitals General Practitioners (GPs) Ambulance services and paramedics District nurses Mental health services Dentists (if they treat them as an NHS patient) Pharmacists (if they had an NHS prescription) Opticians (if the NHS pays for their eye tests and/or glasses) NHS funded care (if the NHS paid for someone to be treated at a private hospital or pays all or part of someone’s Care Home fees, for example). Social Care Complaints We can help our service users to make a complaint about their experience with: Children and Adult Social Services Social Service professionals, eg social workers Social Service funded Care Homes Advocacy Focus can help service users in many ways, even if it is just giving them the confidence to voice their concern or by pointing them in the right direction of where to complain by using the self-help tools on our website. Who can have help from an Independent Advocate? Anyone can have the support of an Independent Advocate during a complaints process A person can make a complaint on someone else’s behalf, either with their written permission, or in the case that they have passed away A person can make a complaint on behalf of someone who lacks mental capacity, or on behalf of a child under 18 years old if they are unable to complain themselves. How can we help? Advocacy Focus can support our service users at any stage of the complaints process. We offer the following resources: Before making a complaint Self-Help Guide: In many cases, people do not need an advocate to help them with a complaint, but may benefit from accessing simple to understand information to make things easier. We have a downloadable self-help guide which includes information available about the NHS complaints process, how to make a complaint, writing an NHS complaints letter, and how to access medical records. Attend a health and social care complaint drop in: If you do not know whether to make a complaint or not, we can help you decide what to do. We may suggest that there are other less formal ways of sorting out your concerns. At our drop in sessions we can support you to start the complaints process. See where your nearest drop in session is here. Making a complaint Your advocate can: Provide a confidential and independent service for you to discuss your complaint with Explore the different stages of the complaints process with you Help you to format and compose any letters you wish to send in relation to your complaint Assist you to prepare for and attend any resolution meetings you are asked to attend Assist you to escalate your complaint if you are not happy with any responses that you receive It is important to understand that your advocate cannot advise or influence your decisions in any way and that they are there to provide you with information and the possible options, not their own opinions. Support can be accessed over the telephone, email or by a face-to-face meeting with an advocate at our drop in’s and can be provided at any stage of the complaints process. Following the complaint At Advocacy Focus, if a complaint is not resolved in a way that you are happy with, we can help you to take your complaint to an Ombudsman, in the hope that the appropriate regulatory body will hold them to account for their actions. Self-Help Guide Download our Guide to Making an NHS or Social Care Complaint here Get in Touch To request a printed copy of the self-help complaints pack, and for further information about our supportive drop in sessions please email [email protected], alternatively you can speak to our friendly team on 0300 323 0965.