Advocacy means getting support from another person to help you express your views and wishes. They can help you stand up for your rights. Someone who helps you in this way is called your advocate.
If you want to make a complaint about a health service an advocate may be able to support you. There are different advocacy services for different areas. The services shown below are statutory, this means the law says they must exist to support people for free.
Other advocacy services are available.
What does an advocate do?
An advocate can:
- listen to your views and concerns
- help you explore your options and rights (without pressuring you)
- provide information to help you make informed decisions
- help you contact relevant people, or contact them on your behalf
- accompany you and support you in meetings or appointments.
An advocate will not:
- give you their personal opinion
- solve problems and make decisions for you
- make judgements about you.
The support of an advocate is often particularly useful in meetings when you might not feel confident in expressing yourself. They can:
- support you to ask all the questions you want to ask
- make sure all the points you want covered are included in the meeting
- explain your options to you without giving their opinion
- help keep you safe during the meeting – for example, if you find the meeting upsetting, your advocate can ask for a break until you feel able to continue.
This summary was taken from the Mind website.
Independent Health Complaints Advocacy
The Advocacy People (formerly called SEAP) is a charity that gives independent and free advice about making complaints.
In Buckinghamshire, The Advocacy People can help if you are unhappy with the service you, or someone else, has received from the NHS. This is called Independent Health Complaints Advocacy or IHCA).
Initial enquiries are made at the national level and then routed to the local body.
0330 440 9000
The Advocacy People, PO Box 375, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 9HU
Independent Mental Health Advocacy
POhWER has been working in Buckinghamshire since 2012. They offer the following services in Buckinghamshire:
- Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA), including Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) and Relevant Person’s Paid Representative Services (RPPR)
- Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
- Care Act Advocacy
0300 020 0092
Social Care Advocacy
Advocacy in Social Care is sourced and provided by the Local Authority. If you need an advocate, you should ask Bucks Council to “refer you for a statutory advocate” in relation to your case. They must refer you, although you may not be assigned an advocate. If they do not refer you, you should complain to the Council.
The Mind website has more information about Social Care advocates.