If you find it difficult to speak up about your care or treatment, advocacy might help. Advocates can make calls or write letters on your behalf, attend appointments with you or help you understand the information you are given.

The NHS and social services both have an advocate scheme, and there are several other organisations that have advocate services.

Your council has to provide an advocate if you do not have family or friends to help and you have difficulty:

  • understanding and remembering information
  • communicating your views
  • understanding the pros and cons of different options

Contact social services at your local authority and ask about advocacy services. Find your local social services. If you are eligible to statutory advocacy from the local authority, they have a legal obligation to provide you with an advocate.

POhWER is a charity that helps people to be involved in decisions being made about their care. Call POhWER’s support centre on 0300 456 2370 for advice.

The Advocacy People gives advocacy support. Call 0330 440 9000 for advice or text PEOPLE to 80800 and someone will get back to you.

VoiceAbility gives advocacy support. Call their helpline on 0300 303 1660 for advice or use VoiceAbility’s online referral form.

Contact the charity Age UK to see if they have advocates in your area. Contact Age UK online or call 0800 055 6112.

Your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) may also provide Advocacy services.

If there are no advocates in your area, as is sadly the case in parts of the UK, some organisations such as Rethink and VoiceAbility could help you set up ‘group advocacy’, where a group of people with similar experiences work together to get their voices heard.

Part of this information is provided by the NHS, reproduced with permission.