How we can help with NHS concerns or complaints

Healthwatch Reading runs the Reading NHS Complaints Advocacy Service through our advocacy hub, called Reading Voice.

NHS Complaints Advocacy is guaranteed under legislation, as a free, independent and confidential service to all people in England who need support to get their complaint resolved. It helps you know all your options, your rights and how to make sure your voice is heard.

We have run this service in Reading since 2014 so we know how local systems work and who to contact to get your problem sorted out. During 2018-19, we helped 84 local people make formal NHS complaints, and assisted a further 209 people with advice that helped sort out problems before they escalated.

Our service offers three levels of support:

  1. Simple Self-Help: Use our online or paper guide to support yourself through the complaints process
  2. Supported Self-Help: A one-off meeting with one of our advocates and/or telephone support to guide you through the complaints process
  3. Full Advocacy Support: For people who are unwell, bereaved, need help communicating, or who don't feel confident to make the complaint themselves, we will allocate an advocate to manage most, or all, of the complaints process for you - this could include drafting your complaint letters, ensuring the NHS responds to you and attending resolution meetings with health professionals and managers.

Contact our advocacy service

Tips and tools for making a complaint

Adult social care complaints

We can advise or support adults who have concerns about social care that Reading Borough Council has arranged, provided or funded. We have provided Social Care Complaints Advocacy since 2018, through our Reading Voice Advocacy hub.

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Top tips for making NHS Complaints

We have produced a self-help guide to explain the NHS complaints process, your rights, how to write a complaint letter, and where to send your complaints.

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GP complaints

Find out where to start if you have a problem with your GP. 

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NHS dentist complaints

Find out how to make a complaint about NHS dental care.

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Hospital complaints

We can advise or support people living in Reading to resolve concerns or complaints about hospital treatment they have had at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, any NHS hospital outside of Reading, or for NHS-funded treatment at a private hospital.

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Mental health services complaints

This covers care from the community mental health team, crisis team, child & adolescent mental health services or as a voluntary inpatient at Prospect Park or other psychiatric hospitals.

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Independent Mental Health Advocacy

People are legally entitled to this if they are 'sectioned' in hospital or under a community treatment order. It's less about complaints and more about helping people to know their rights and have their say. We have provided this service at Prospect Park Hospital since 2018.

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Care Act Advocacy

Certain people, such as those with learning disabilities and no-one else in their life, are legally entitled to this, to help them express their views when their social care is being assessed or reviewed. We have provided this service in Reading since 2015.

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