Sometimes its difficult to take the first steps and ask for help at other times you’re aware you’re not in a good place and just need help. The support of an Advocate can sometimes encourage you to take the first steps in making an appointment to see your Doctor to discuss the way you feel. They will support you step by step in discussing your issues with the right people whether its a bit of moral support to say your medication isn’t working, to tell someone that you’re unhappy with the way you’ve been treated or to get help to understand your mental health and how to cope. An Advocate will work with you to find answers and the help you need to get better.
The Mental Health Act states that all patients detained must have their rights read as soon as practicable after detention. One of these rights is to have an Advocate. An Advocate will help you understand the detention you’ve been held within, the process that is to be followed and provide representation. Detentions are time specific and patients can be moved between sections to permit a longer detention. Patients have a right to a mental health tribunal and a care programme approach meeting to discuss discharge and continued care needs. The support of an advocate can continue if placed on a community treatment order which allows the patient to return home. Hospital staff will automatically refer patients for an Advocate. Following initial contact, patients can opt out of using the service.
If you’re unhappy about the way you’ve been treated by your Doctor or NHS staff you have a right to be able to complain. Sometimes issues can be resolved through an informal complaint where you tell the NHS staff your concerns and things are put in place to resolve these. At other times its more serious, for example, medical negligence, misdiagnosis or the behaviour of staff that endanger standards of care and medical treatment. An Advocate can provide support to guide you to using the formal NHS complaints process to elevate your concerns, obtain answers and possibly improve health services with your experience.
Social Workers are there to work in a way that is person centred putting your welfare at the heart of all decisions. Your input in decisions about your life or your child’s care is extremely important to make things work. If you feel your Social Worker isn’t listening, sometimes it can help to have a second person present as it sometimes changes professional’s approach to you. An Advocate can give you moral support at meetings, record discussions and raise concerns further if staff are not working in a person centred way.
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