NHS Complaints Advocacy Service
*Please note that due to the number of people contacting our service, we sometimes operate a short waiting list for NHS Complaints Advocacy support.*
How to make an NHS complaint
You can either complain to the NHS service directly (such as a GP, dentist surgery or hospital) or to the commissioner of the services, which is the body that pays for the NHS services you use. You cannot complain to both.
The contact details for the commissioner are email: firstname.lastname@example.org / telephone: 01924 552 150 / in writing: Complaints Team, West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, White Rose House West Parade, Wakefield WF1 1LT.
In the event of a complaint about more than one organisation. For example, in a complaint that includes issues about your GP, local hospital and ambulance service, the organisations must cooperate with each other to make sure you get a coordinated response.
If you do not feel able to submit your complaint yourself, you can ask for support from our Independent Complaints Advocacy Service.
What do we mean by advocacy?
Advocacy is supporting people to say what they want. Our Independent Complaints Advocacy Service offers practical support and information to people who want to make a complaint about a service funded by the National Health Service (NHS). This includes General Practitioners (GPs), hospitals, opticians, pharmacies, dentists, ambulance and community health services.
What you can expect from us:
Our advocacy practice is guided by the key principles shown above with additional information about these provided below:
Clarity of purpose: We make sure the people we advocate on behalf of and organisations we work with have information on our role and what we can and cannot help people with.
Independence: We are independent from the NHS, health care services and Calderdale Council and as free as possible from conflicts of interest when we provide services.
Person-centred approach: The wishes of the people we advocate for direct our work. Our advocates are respectful of people’s needs, views, culture and experiences.
Accessibility: Our services are free to anyone who lives in Calderdale. We make sure that our service is accessible.
Empowerment: Our work supports empowerment. When people use our services, they tell us how we can support them through our service.
Confidentiality: We have a policy on confidentiality that explains how we use information about people who use our services.
Supporting advocates: We give our advocacy staff opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and experience and support them in their work.
Equal opportunity: We have an equal opportunities policy and we are proactive in tackling inequality. We make sure we allocate our advocate’s time fairly.
Accountability: Everyone who accesses our service has a named advocate and a way of contacting them. We monitor and evaluate our work.
Safeguarding: We have clear policies and procedures to make sure we act on safeguarding issues. Our advocacy staff understand what to do if they think someone might be at risk of abuse or neglect.
Information and record keeping: We keep case notes to keep a record of important information that you, or other professionals, have given to us and information that we have given to you. We keep this information in your case file and on our electronic client database. This information is stored securely and is kept for seven years after your last appointment unless you tell us that you do not want us to keep your information.
Access to records: The Data Protection Act 2018 sets out how we store, use, and protect your information. You have the right to see the information we hold about you. There is more information about this in our Privacy Statement.
What support can the Independent Health Complaints Advocacy provide?
Our service is here to support you in putting forward your point of view.
- Find out information and who to contact about your issue.
- Give you the opportunity to speak confidentially about your complaint to a person who is independent of the NHS.
- Explore what options you have to help you decide what you’d like to do.
- Support you to express your view in your NHS complaint.
- Offer practical help to write a letter or attend a meeting.
- Help you understand responses and correspondence about your complaint.
- Tell you about other services that could help you.
- Provide you with information about how the NHS complaints service works.
What we won’t do:
- Give you advice or tell you what to do.
- Provide legal representation at appeal tribunals.
- Give legal or medical advice or opinions.
- Help you claim compensation.
- Provide counselling
- Investigate complaints
- Get an NHS employee disciplined
- Challenge medical opinion
- Help with complaints not covered by NHS Complaints Regulations, such as privately funded treatment.
Advocacy is not a crisis or emergency support service. If we are not the right service for what you need, we will give you information on other services or refer you to the right organisation.
How our service works
- Our service is for residents of Calderdale only.
- Support is free, confidential, and independent.
- Our advocate works under instruction, which means that we listen to what you want and act on your behalf.
We are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday, except on Bank Holidays.
You can contact us by telephone 01422 412141, by email email@example.com or by post to Healthwatch Calderdale, The Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre, Hopwood Lane, Halifax, HX1 5ER.
If you would like to use our advocacy service, please complete and sign the following forms:
Before our NHS Complaints Advocate can support you to make a complaint. Please note we also require a copy of an Advocacy-QA-form-v4 in order to proceed with your complaint.
What do we expect from you?
If you cannot attend an appointment please let us know by calling our office number 01422 412141. If you miss an appointment or we cannot contact you we will write to you and if we do not hear from you within the timescale indicated in the letter sent, we will need to close your case.
We ask that you do not attend advocacy appointments under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Physical or verbal aggression towards staff, other clients or property is not acceptable.
We ask that you tell us about any current risks. This may include harm to others or self. We can then talk about how we can support you. Giving us this information does not mean we won’t be able to work with you — it helps us know how we can support you.
You have the right to complain about any aspect of NHS care, treatment or service, which is written into the NHS Constitution on GOV.UK.
From 1 July 2023, the way members of the public make a complaint about primary care services to the commissioner has changed.
Rather than contacting NHS England, you must contact your local integrated care board (ICB). Current contact details in Calderdale at the time of publishing are:
Telephone: 01924 552 150
In writing: Complaints Team, West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, White Rose House West Parade, Wakefield WF1 1LT
There are two ways you can make a complaint:
- You can complain to the healthcare provider: this is the organisation where you received the NHS service, for example, a GP surgery or dental surgery
- You can complain to the service commissioner: this is the organisation that paid for the service or care you received.
By primary care services we mean GPs, dentists, opticians or pharmacy services