Independent Health Complaints Advocacy
Most of us use the NHS at some point in our lives and many of us use these services regularly. Whilst the NHS works hard to make sure that people are satisfied with the services sometimes things do go wrong. The NHS complaints procedure is in place to make sure that issues are resolved at a local level.
We understand that you might need support to make a complaint about an NHS Service. We are able to provide free, independent support and assistance to people who live in Surrey. Healthwatch Surrey has commissioned us to provide this service. We work to ensure people can represent their own interests as far as possible and not to offer advice on how we think an individual should act.
You can make a complaint about hospitals, GPs, mental health services, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, opticians, 111, walk-in centres, NHS-funded private care and more.
What do we do?
Advocates support you through the whole NHS complaints process. They explain the options available and support you to pursue your chosen course of action. They only do what you ask them to and will not try to tell you what to do. They do not investigate or encourage complaints, nor do they offer legal or medical advice. The service is free, independent and confidential.
Considering Taking Legal Action?
We can not assist you to take legal action or give legal advice. If you wish to find out more about taking legal action you can contact the charity Action Against Medical Accidents (AAMA) https://www.avma.org.uk/ You can also contact The Legal Aid Agency
Their aim is to ensure that:
- You are in control of decisions which are made about you
- Your experiences, views, wishes and feelings are heard
- You can contribute to improving the health and care services you use
An Advocate can:
- Answer your questions to help you make decisions
- Send you our Step by Step self-help information pack
- 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 to get the best possible resolution
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
How do we do it?
We can provide information about the complaints procedure for people who wish to make a complaint by themselves but just need a little bit more guidance before they start. In many cases, we can also provide an Advocate who can discuss your particular situation, explain the complaints procedure, and possibly help you to draft a letter or attend a meeting with you.
We will seek the outcome you want whether it is a written explanation from the NHS on why something went wrong, a simple explanation about your care or treatment, a meeting with a senior NHS person, an apology or an explanation of how the NHS will improve.
To access our Advocacy Services
If you would like our help or to find out more, please contact us at:
Telephone: 0300 030 7333
Lines are open 10.00 – 16.00 Mon – Thurs & 10.00 – 14.00 on Friday
Text: 07444 310 085
If you feel unhappy with our service
We recognise that sometimes we may get it wrong or a customer may feel they have not received the service they should have. You can discuss any concern you have by contacting us and the following documents will provide further information on how you can raise your concerns with us:
Unacceptable Behavior Statement
SDPP staff and volunteers work positively to support customers and resolve issues.
Our Staff and volunteers will not tolerate, verbal, written, physical, racial abuse, threatening behavior or discrimination of any kind.
We reserve the right to withdraw any of our services from customers who fail to respond to guidance around this statement and continue to behave in an unacceptable manner.
Thank you for your support and understanding