NHS Complaints Advocacy
Although most people using the health service are happy with their care and treatment, things can sometimes go wrong. If you’re not satisfied with the service you’ve experienced from a hospital, doctor, dentist, local surgery or any other NHS provider, you are entitled to complain about it.
Who is the service for?
By law, anyone who wishes to complain about an NHS service is entitled to receive advocacy to help them make their complaint. Healthwatch Halton’s Advocacy HUB is a free, confidential and independent advocacy service, available to all residents of Halton. We help people understand what their options are and to support them through the NHS complaints process to ensure they get the best possible resolution. We provide information and support to help people understand their rights and make informed choices when making a complaint.
What support does an advocate provide?
An advocate provides free, confidential and independent support, and will provide you with information to help you make informed choices to help you navigate through the NHS complaints process.
The Advocate’s role is to:
- Explore the options available to you at each stage of the complaints procedure.
- Answer your questions to help you make informed decisions
- Help you to write effective letters to the right people.
- Prepare you for any meetings (including ensuring that any necessary evidence and other material are available) and attend with you if required.
- Contact and speak to third parties, on your request
- Monitor the progress of your complaint, ensuring it progresses in a timely manner
- Discuss response letters received t make sure you are satisfied with the outcome
- Assist you with submissions to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
An Advocate cannot:
- Give you legal or medical advice
- Provide counselling
- Help you complain about a private healthcare provider
- Get an NHS employee disciplined
- Provide a secretarial service
Not everyone making a complaint about the NHS will need an advocate. Sometimes, you may just need some information. If you decide you want to make a complaint yourself, you may find our Self-Help Information Pack useful.
How do I get support from an advocate?
If you decide that you would like the support of an advocate, please complete and return our referral form either by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or post to
Healthwatch Halton Advocacy HUB, Suite 5, Foundry House, Widnes Business Park, Waterside Lane, Widnes WA8 8GT
You can also make a referral for someone else, but please get their permission first. If you need further information or support, call 0151 347 8183 (Lines are open between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday. An answerphone operates outside of these times).
Halton ICAS referral form
NHS complaints advocacy leaflet
Self-Help Information Pack
If you want to find out more about the NHS constitution and your rights under the NHS complaints procedure, you can refer to the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009.
The NHS Choices website also has information about feedback and complaints on their website.
To leave feedback on a service in Halton, or to review the feedback left by others about Health and Social Care services in Halton, visit the Healthwatch Halton feedback centre here.
If you have already made your complaint and received a response which you remain unhappy with, you may wish to contact the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman. who make final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England.