How can an advocate help you?

How can an Advocate help you?

An Advocate can provide you with support, help and information if you have complaint about the NHS.

Photo of a person talking on a mobile phone from behindAdvocates support people in a variety of ways and there is not a one size fits all approach as the Advocate will adapt the support they provide to your individual needs.

If you are thinking about making a complaint, but are unsure about what to do next, an Advocate can discuss your concerns and help you to identify the main points of your complaint and explain your options so that you can decide what you want to do and what you want to achieve by making a complaint.

If you decide you would like an Advocate to support you, they will always act on your instructions and respect your decision. Their role is to help you understand your options ad make sure you have all of the information available to you.

Advocates can:

  • Give you the opportunity to speak confidentially to someone who is independent of the NHS
  • Explain the NHS complaints procedure to you so you know what to expect
  • Take time to listen to the your concerns, and experience and answer your questions
  • Discuss with you what support you need to make a complaint
  • Give you information about the different ways that concerns and complaints can be raised and who you need to raise your concern with.
  • Help you focus on what you would like to achieve from your complaint. This may be an apology, an explanation or an improvement to NHS services.
  • Provide you with a Self Help Information Pack which provides a step by step guide on the process of making a complaint and NHS complaints advocacy, and it also includes letter templates for you to use as a guide when writing your letter of complaint.


If you have spoken with an Advocate and have received information and help, you may feel comfortable making the complaint yourself. However, you can always contact us again at any stage of your complaint if you have further questions or require additional support.

Some people may not feel comfortable making the complaint themselves and they may need additional support. An Advocate can provide this support to you as they can:

  • explore the options available to you at each stage of the complaints procedure
  • help you to write an effective complaint letter and get it sent to the right person and place
  • if a meeting is arranged ( for example a local resolution meeting) they can prepare you for the meeting (including ensuring that any necessary evidence and other material is available) and attend it with you
  • contact and speak to third parties if the you would like them to on your behalf
  • discuss the responses you receive to your complaint and find out if you are satisfied with the outcome of your complaint
  • assist you in making a referral to the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman ( PHSO) for an independent review of your complaint if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint from the NHS provider
  • always explain to you what your options are so that you have all of the information available to help you make your own decision. An advocate will not try and persuade you to take a particular course of action and will always respect your decisions and act upon their instruction
  • keep accurate records of all activities undertaken on behalf / with you to ensure your complaint progresses in a timely manner and you get the best outcome possible.
  • Provide you with information on other services and organisations who may be able to help you.

The Independent Complaints Advocate is trained and works in accordance with the Code of Practice for Advocates.


Whilst an Advocates is here to support you in making your complaint, there are certain things that an Advocate cannot do:

An Advocate cannot:

  • Give you legal or medical advice
  • Provide counselling
  • Help you with a complaint about a private healthcare provider
  • Get an NHS employee disciplined
  • Provide a secretarial service



Advocacy home
Frequently Asked Questions
How can an advocate help you?
Accessing your medical records
Downloads, Links and Useful Information When Making a Complaint

If you would like support with a complaint about the NHS and you live in Bury contact:

The Bury Advocacy Hub on : Telephone: 0300 3030 206 or email: or visit the web page at