NHS Advocacy

How Healthwatch Waltham Forest’s NHS Complaints Advocacy Service can help

Healthwatch Waltham Forest’s NHS Complaints Advocacy Service can help you raise a concern about NHS care or treatment. If you would like support we will explain your options and provide you with support to meet your needs. This service is:

• Free

• Confidential

• Independent

About Healthwatch Waltham Forest’s NHS Complaints Advocacy Service 

Advocacy is about supporting people to take part in processes and decisions that influence their life and in having their voice heard. We can provide one-to one advocacy and our service is available to everyone who has a NHS complaint.

If you want support from an advocate they can:

• Answer your questions to help you make decisions

• Help you write letters to the right people

• Provide you with one to one support and explain your options

• Prepare you for meetings and attend with you

• Monitor the progress of your complaint and help you get the best possible resolution

An advocate cannot: 

• Give you legal or medical advice

• Provide counselling or mediation

• Help you complain about a private healthcare provider 

• Get an NHS employee disciplined

Before you start with the complaints process it is important to be clear about what your concerns are with the NHS treatment or care that was received. This can be any aspect of NHS care and services but might include:

• The quality of treatment and care received

• The attitude of staff

• Poor communication

• Unacceptable waiting times or cancellations

• Lack of information

• Failure to diagnose a condition

What Do You Want to Achieve from Your Complaint? 

It is also important to think about the outcome you want to achieve as a result of making a complaint. Some things that people are seeking are 

• An explanation of what happened

• An apology if appropriate

• Changes to be made so that the same thing will not happen to anyone else

• Better communication between NHS staff and patients 

Financial Compensation for Clinical Negligence

This is usually possible only through legal action and you will need to speak to a solicitor who specialises in medical or clinical negligence.

Disciplinary Action against any NHS Staff Member

The NHS Complaints Procedure cannot be used to take disciplinary action against a member of staff. This could however, happen under a separate procedure as a result of an investigation into your complaint. 

How the Process of Making a Complaint Works

You can contact us by telephone or email and your enquiry will come directly to our team. When you first talk to a member of staff they will take all your personal details, talk with you about your issue and discuss what type of support you require. We will give you a brief outline of what you can expect from the NHS Complaints procedure and how we can support you. 

Accessing Advocacy Support 

If you require advocacy support an advocate will make contact with you to discuss your concerns and agree with you an initial Advocacy Support Plan which will contain details of your complaint, the issues you want to raise, what outcome you are hoping to achieve and what action we will take to assist you.  We will review your case regularly and make contact with you to provide updates on your case. We will also chase the progress of responses on your behalf.  You can always contact us at any step of your complaint if you want to talk things through with us or if you need some more information or support