Healthwatch Camden do not provide any advocacy services to Camden residents. The main place we refer residents to is Rethink. Their contact details are below.

These are the following ways Rethink can provide advocacy for self-referrals:

Independent Health Complaints Advocacy (IHCAS)

The role of the IHCAS advocate is to support any patients, service users, residents, their family, carer or representative with a complaint or grievance related to any aspect of healthcare as described in the Health and Social Care Act 2012, including that which falls under the remit of the Health Service Ombudsman, such as complaints about poor treatment or service provided through health services in England.

An Advocate Can:

  • Help you understand correspondence in relation to the complaint.
  • Help you explain why you are not happy in your own words.
  • Listen to you and help you to focus on what is important and the outcomes you would like to achieve.
  • Help you to plan to ensure you meet timescales and deadlines.
  • Help you to write a statement of complaint by summarising the main points.
  • Help you to submit your complaint to the appropriate person.
  • Support you to prepare for meetings related to your complaint
  • Attend meetings with you to help you say what you want and ask the questions you would like answered.
  • Help you to understand options available to you and so you can decide what to do next.

They can’t:

  • Seek compensation or disciplinary action against any NHS staff.
  • Take minutes at external meetings
  • Go through all the paperwork in relation to your complaint or make decisions about what is relevant.
  • Read all documents relating to your complaint.

Anyone who is a resident of the areas we cover may refer themselves for this form of advocacy or may refer another person for this support with their consent to do so.

While there are no eligibility criteria in terms of additional needs for this service, if the advocate assigned determines the person is able to advocate for themselves, the support provided may consist of providing information on NHS complaints and how to submit the complaint themselves.

Non Statutory Advocacy/Community advocacy

Access to non-statutory advocacy will be prioritised to people with a substantial difficultly which prevents them from self-advocating in key processes in their life where they may be left without the support to have their voice heard and to secure their rights.

Persons may be eligible for this service if:

  • Person has a “substantial difficulty” in any of the following tasks:
    • understanding relevant information
    • retaining information
    • using or weighing up the information (as part of being involved in the key process)
    • communicating their views, wishes and feelings
    • This could be due to a range of diagnoses, e.g., a learning disability or difficulty, dementia, autism, a sensory impairment, or mental health issue.
  • The person should be aged 18 years or older, or the person is aged 16 or 17 and likely to have a continuing need for the service beyond the age of 18.
  • The person should be ordinarily resident in Camden or Islington.

The service may provide non-statutory advocacy if there is a decision being made, or a health, care or other issue that affects the person’s well-being. For example:

  • Caring for someone, whether as an unpaid carer or a parent, including for people who
  • have a child who is not in their care.
  • Making first contact with adult social care
  • Raising a complaint or concern about a social care service/provider
  • Access to housing and escalating any issues with their housing
  • Accessing or engaging with other support or services, e.g., GP, mental health services, leisure
  • Benefits issues – including support for tribunals
  • Employment issues – include tribunals and disciplinaries
  • Supporting parents to understand Child Protection cases where relevant. (See Appendix 3 – Supporting Parents involved in Child Protection cases)
  • Understanding correspondence received from another service, including statutory services (e.g., charging-based correspondence)

Support for these clients is likely to be met through volunteer advocacy provision but could be subcontracted to a partner organisation if more appropriate for the individual. Referrals can be made by the person themselves or by a professional, e.g., social care practitioner, social prescriber, support worker.

Independent Mental Health Advocacy, for persons:

  • Subject to a section of the mental health act
  • Subject to community treatment order, conditional discharge from hospital, guardianship
  • Under the age of 18 being considered for Electroconvulsive Therapy.

We can also accept referrals for informal patients, e.g. persons in a mental health ward or unit in the boroughs of Camden or Islington who are not under any of the above.

Referrals for this form of advocacy can be made by the client themselves, professionals, family or friends, essentially any involved party as long as they have the consent of the person being referred to do so.

Contact details

Tel: 0300 790 0559