Importance of advocacy and support

Healthwatch Calderdale delivers the Independent Health Complaints Advocacy service that supports people to make complaints about NHS services. It helps Healthwatch Calderdale to get an understanding of where there might be bigger issues that need to be looked in to. We have a dedicated worker delivering that service, and we are supporting people to complain about GP practices, hospital services, mental health services, and dental care.

We are also asked by many more people for support with things like making complaints about social care services, to help them to interact better with health professionals, and to help with the assessments of their needs. We can offer information and signposting, but we cannot offer advocacy or more in depth support; we think that there should be support out there to help people with these issues. Unfortunately, we have found that it is very difficult to get support for these people as there are very few services that can do this, and sometimes they have criteria that means people aren’t eligible. We are still learning more about this issue, and raising it with the commissioner of our service, and others like ours, to see if support can be made available to these people.