General Health Advocacy

Support for people receiving NHS treatment who aren't eligible for other (statutory) advocacy services. Part of our Health Advocacy service. Warwickshire only.

Information for people who would like an advocate

Who is General Health Advocacy for?

Are you…

Living in Warwickshire or have a GP in Warwickshire?
Undergoing NHS treatment?
Feel you need support to have your say in your treatment or to plan for your discharge?

If your answer to these questions is yes, we may be able to help you.

What is advocacy?

Advocacy is about making sure that your thoughts and opinions are heard, especially when decisions are being made about your life.

An advocate is someone who helps you to:

  • think through different choices and options available to you
  • make your views and wishes clear
  • get independent and accurate information
  • understand your rights.

Advocates support people to speak up for themselves. They won’t tell you what to do.

Advocacy is free, confidential and independent – our advocates are not a member of the medical or social care team.  

What can an advocate help with?

Our advocates could:

  • help you have your voice heard in decisions about your treatment and care
  • support you with hospital discharge planning arrangements
  • help you to access specialist support to resolve issues that you may be facing such as:
    • unsuitable housing
    • benefit issues
    • eviction
    • financial difficulties
    • legal matters.

Advocates can meet you in person or provide support on the phone.

How can I get an advocate?

There are two ways to find out more or get support:

  1. You can call us on 0300 222 5947 or ask someone else to call us on your behalf. This could be a friend or family member or a professional who is supporting you.
  2. You can fill in a self-referral form below and post it to us at the address at the bottom of the form. Please do not send us referral forms by email.

Information for professionals: Full eligibility criteria and how to refer

General Health Advocacy services will be provided to people who:

  • Are residents of Warwickshire or registered with a GP practice within Warwickshire AND
  • Are undergoing an NHS treatment at the time of referral AND
  • Due to their condition and no other form of help available to them, are unable or would find it extremely difficult to advocate for themselves to resolve a significant issue affecting their health and wellbeing AND
  • Fall into one of the following categories:
    • adults aged 18 years or more and have a physical disability OR
    • adults aged 18 years or more and have a learning disability OR
    • adults aged 18 years or more and have a mental health disability, and are being treated in a general acute hospital setting (not mental health inpatient or community setting) OR
    • older adults aged 65 years or more OR
    • others deemed appropriate due to the complexity of issues and the clients vulnerability to advocate for themselves in their healthcare planning, treatment and discharge.

People who are eligible for statutory advocacy provision (IMCA, IMHA, Care Act Advocacy) are excluded from General Health Advocacy.

If you are uncertain if someone is eligible, contact us. We offer many types of advocacy so we may still be able to help if someone is not eligible for General Health Advocacy. 

The aim is to empower and enable the person to maintain their independence and quality of life. The advocate’s involvement could help avoid potential crises through early intervention and prevention approaches.

What does it involve?

General Health Advocacy may involve:

  • helping a client to have their voice heard in relation to further treatment / care and making decisions in this regard,
  • supporting clients with hospital discharge planning arrangements,
  • helping clients to access specialist support to resolve issues with unsuitable housing following a discharge, benefit issue, eviction, financial difficulties and legal matters.

What can the advocate do?

An advocate can offer:

  • Information and advice to enable people to self-advocate.
  • Direct advocacy, either face-to-face or over the phone. This may mean the advocate needs to attend appointments with service professionals such as PALS coordinators, ward managers or social workers.

How can I make a referral?

You can make the referral or support someone to self-refer.

You can refer someone by calling 0300 222 5947 or by completing the referral form for professionals below. You must return this in one of the following ways:

1. Post the referral form to our Head Office: VoiceAbility Unit 1, The Old Granary, Westwick, Oakington CB24 3AR

2. Email to via a secure method, for example the following are acceptable if you have access to one of these:

  • Sophos email (available to Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust staff)
  • Egress email (available to Warwickshire County Council staff)
  • email (available to Coventry City Council staff)

3. Email from a CJSM account to

For data security reasons, do not email referral forms unless you are using a secure method, even if you password protect documents. If you do not have access to a secure email, or simply prefer to call us, please phone 0300 222 5947 to make the referral, instead of completing the form.

It is essential that we keep people’s data secure, please remember that it is your responsibility to send information to us securely. We are continuing to review secure email routes. If we are able to offer any additional referral routes we will add them to this page.

We expect that those making referrals will include NHS and Local Authority staff, Healthwatch Warwickshire staff and third sector organisations (e.g. Citizen’s Advice or Community Hubs).

Alternatively you can support someone to refer themselves by telephone or using the self-referral form, which you can download from the section above.