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Getting advice and support

We want to make it as easy as possible for people to make a complaint for themselves if they feel they have been let down by the NHS or another public organisation.

But we know that for all sorts of different reasons, sometimes people really benefit from having someone else support them through the process of making a complaint.

If you need information and advice

If you would like to make a complaint to the NHS or another public organisation, but are not sure how to get started, we’ve put together some tips to guide you.

If your complaint is about the NHS, then you could contact your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) or your local Healthwatch for advice on taking it forward.

If you are complaining about a government department or service, your local Citizens Advice will be able to give you information and advice.

If you need someone to help you make your complaint

Our job as an independent decision-maker on complaints means we can give you information and advice about making a complaint, but we can’t make a complaint for you. 

If you do need someone to help you with this, there are other people and organisations you can ask. Someone who represents you and makes your complaint for you, is called an advocate.

You could ask a friend or a family member to do this for you. There are also organisations that offer free, professional advocacy services. We’ve included some links below.

If you’re having trouble finding the right support for you, then please call us on 0345 015 4033 and we’ll do our best to put you in touch with an organisation that can help. 

Your local health complaints advocacy service

Your local authority will have arranged independent health complaints advocacy where you live. This service is free to use. Below are links to four of the organisations that provide this service, but there are others too. Check with your local authority, local Healthwatch or the Local Government Association website to find out the provider in your local area:

Other organisations that can help

Other organisations, including some charities, offer advocacy as part of what they do. These are just some of them:

If you ask someone to bring your complaint to us for you

If you do decide that you want an advocate to make your complaint to us on your behalf, when they contact us about your complaint, we’ll just need to check with you that you’re happy for them to do this.