Complaints and advocacy

If you are not happy with the treatment or care you, or the person you care for, is getting then you may want to say something.  

This can be as simple as knowing who you need to speak to get a particular issue sorted, or you may want to make a more formal complaint. 

If you need someone to help you make a complaint then advocacy may help. An advocate is someone who can make sure that your opinion is heard, and they can also make contact with organisations on your behalf if you are not comfortable doing this. Some organisations offer advocacy to carers, whilst other organisations advocate for different groups (for example; Mind offers advocacy in mental health). 

As a carer you are probably in touch with a lot of professionals who support the person you care for with health and social care. This could be:

  • GPs
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacists
  • Your local council
  • Paid care workers
  • Care homes
  • Healthcare professionals and hospital staff

You can make a complaint about the way you, or the person you care for, has been treated by any of these.  

Talk directly to the organisation and try to sort it out informally 

First of all, try talking directly to the person or organisation that you are unhappy with. You may be able to sort out the problem quickly without the need to take it further. Don’t be afraid to do this; all organisations will have a policy in place for just this eventuality and will treat you professionally.

Ask them for a copy of their complaints procedure and say you want to talk to someone about it. There will be someone there who is in charge of complaints and they will be able to help. 

Keep a note of who you talk to (or email), when you had contact with them, and what you asked them to do to sort out the problem.

If you have concerns about abuse or neglect get advice from your local social care team (for adults or children) as it may be a safeguarding issue, and need investigating by a third party.

See abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults on NHS Choices

Further steps

You can also raise concerns about care if you live in England with the Care Quality Commission. This will help them understand how well a particular service cares for the people who use it.