01904 414357 office@yorkadvocacy.org.uk

Our Services

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NHS Complaints Advocacy Service? Do you offer advice?

 The NHS Complaints Advocacy Service is there to help you understand and go through the complaints process.

Advocacy is not advice. Advocates can provide you with the information and options you need to make an informed choice about what you want to do. An advocate is not there to tell you what to do or influence your decisions.

If you need specialist advice an Advocate can help you find those services that may be able to provide that for you.

‘I want to make an NHS Complaint. Is York Advocacy independent from the NHS?’

We are funded by the Local Authority but are an independent service. This means we do not work for the NHS and only act on your behalf.

‘What is the difference between the NHS Complaints Advocacy Service and PALS?’

 The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is funded by the NHS and are based in hospitals.  They offer advice and assistance to patients, their relatives, friends and carers.  They can listen to feedback, help get answers to your questions and liaise with NHS staff and services to help resolve any concerns.

PALS can help you resolve issues informally with hospitals before you need to make a complaint.  They can be particularly helpful if your issue is urgent and you need action immediately, such as a problem with the treatment or care you receive while in hospital.

NHS Complaints Advocacy can support you if you decide you want to make a formal NHS Complaint.  This could be after you have already contacted PALS and your issues could not be resolved informally.

PALS are based at York Hospital and you can contact them on 01904 726262 or by emailing pals@york.nhs.uk.

‘How can I get a copy of my medical notes?

 A request for information from health (medical) records has to be made with the organisation that holds your health records – the data controller. For example, your GP practice, optician or dentist.

For hospital health records, contact the records manager or patient services manager at the relevant hospital trust. You can find a list of hospital trusts on the NHS website (www.nhs.uk).

 ‘‘I don’t trust the service provider with my complaint: can’t I just make a direct complaint to the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman?’

The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman will normally only investigate complaints when a person has exhausted the Local Resolution stage of the complaints process and received a final response from the organisation or service you are complaining about. The Ombudsman believes that the organisation should be given a chance to respond and, where appropriate, try to put things right before they become involved.

The final response should be in the form of a letter stating that the service or organisation has done all they can to resolve your complaint and that you should now take your complaint to the Ombudsman. Not having a final response may delay your case being looked at by the Ombudsman so it is important that you receive this.

Legal Advice

‘‘When can I seek legal advice regarding my NHS complaint?’

 You can seek legal advice at any time throughout the complaints process. However, a solicitor may suggest completing the NHS Complaints process before taking on your complaint. This would be dependent on the nature of the complaint.

‘What is the usual process with getting legal advice?’

You should see a solicitor specialised in clinical negligence cases. They will need as much information as possible. It will help if you keep a record of everything that’s relevant to your treatment and any paperwork you’ve got if you’ve been through the complaints procedure. The solicitor will decide if your case has a reasonable chance of success and should be able to give you an idea how much your compensation you might get.

The Law Society have a ‘Find a Solicitor’ service for anyone looking for information about organisations or people providing legal services. You can contact them on their General enquiries line on 020 7242 1222 or visit their website at www.lawsociety.org.uk.

You may also want to contact Action Against Medical Accidents (AVMA) which is a specialist medico-legal advice service which is free and confidential. The service provides information and advice to people who have experienced some form of medical or clinical negligence. You can contact them on 0845 123 2352 or visit their website at www.avma.org.uk.

‘Can I make a complaint on behalf of a third party relative?’

 Yes. You can make a complaint on behalf of someone else, as long as they are aware of the complaint and agree.  Signed consent from the person would be best.

‘My mother passed away in hospital and I want to complain about her care. Can I still do this?’

Yes. You can make a complaint on behalf of someone who has died. However, dependent on the circumstances, the NHS can refuse the complaint if they feel you are not a suitable representative of the deceased. The NHS should provide their reasons in writing.

Can I complain on behalf of a relative who cannot consent due to Dementia?

 Yes. If the person is unable to consent due to issues with capacity, or illness you can still complain on their behalf. However, if the NHS service feel that the complaint is not in the best interests of the person, they can refuse the complaint. They should put the reasons for their decision in writing.

I am under 18 can I complain?

 Yes. Young people under 18 are entitled to complain independently. The NHS cannot consider a complaint made on behalf of a young person unless they are sure that the young person couldn’t have complained themselves.

For more information please see our full NHS Self Advocacy Pack.