NHS Complaints Advocacy

Support for anyone who wants to make a complaint about an NHS service. Part of our Health Advocacy service. Warwickshire only.

Who can get an advocate?

If you live (or are registered at a GP) in Warwickshire, VoiceAbility can help you to make a complaint about your NHS care.

We are providing this service in Warwickshire from 2nd July 2018. For similar support in Coventry, contact Healthwatch Coventry instead of us.

An NHS complaint might include something that happened during care or treatment provided by:

  • a hospital
  • your GP
  • a dentist
  • a pharmacist
  • an optician
  • an NHS-funded care homes
  • specialist services
  • a paramedic or ambulance staff member
  • NHS community staff
  • other NHS staff or clinicians.

How can an advocate support me?

Advocates will support you to feel empowered and confident so you can make your complaint. This might mean giving information so you can pursue a complaint by yourself or giving you the support of an experienced advocate who can help you to make your complaint. We will give you information about how the complaints process works and what your rights are. We will talk to you about how you want us to support you.

Your advocate can support you to:

  • understand what you can expect to achieve from the NHS complaints process
  • compile the issues you want to raise
  • write a letter to the right people
  • explore the options available to you at each stage of the complaints process
  • prepare for a meeting and attend it with you if you want us to
  • monitor the progress of your complaint
  • get in touch with other people or services that might be able to help you.

Your advocate can support you to express your own thoughts and feelings when things are difficult. As advocacy is about helping people to speak up for themselves, your advocate will not tell you what to do or act on the wishes of others.

NHS Complaints Advocacy is:
• independent of the NHS
• confidential
• free.

What if I only need information?

Our NHS Complaints Advocacy website has information and guides to help you to make your complaint yourself.

Alternatively, you can contact our helpline on 0300 222 5947 and we can send a pack to you in the post.

The self-help information pack includes:
• a detailed booklet on how the complaints systems work
• guidance on how to make a complaint and who you need to contact
• essential tips on how to write a letter of complaint
• a guide to accessing medical records.

If you decide later on that you need more support, contact us. Advocates can assist you at any stage of your complaint.

Can I complain on behalf of someone else?

You can complain on behalf of a child (under 18) if they are unable to make a complaint themselves. You will need to provide a reason why the child cannot make a complaint themselves. If the organisation you complain to does not accept your explanation they must write to you detailing their reasons why. You can make a complaint on behalf of a friend or relative if they give you written agreement. If the person is very ill or does not have the capacity to give permission, due to an impairment or disability, you may complain on their behalf.

Meeting your needs

Please let us know if you have particular needs. Advocates will communicate with you in the way that best suits you. This might include any of the following:
• Using an interpreter or translator.
• Using alternative formats for written correspondence. For example, EasyRead,
larger prints, community languages or audio.
• Using British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters.

How can I get an advocate?

Call us on 0300 222 5947 or complete the referral form below and send it back to us by post to the address shown on the form.

Information for professionals

If you are a health or social care professional, you can support someone to refer themselves or complete our Health Advocacy referral form for professionals. NHS Complaints Advocacy is a statutory service.

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 CWAdvocacy@voiceability.org 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)
  • @coventry.gov.uk email (available to Coventry City Council staff)

3. Email from a CJSM account to cwadvocacy@voiceability.cjsm.net

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.