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Help and information

Your right to complaints advocacy

By law, people who wish to complain about the care and/or treatment they receive from the NHS are entitled to free, independent and confidential advocacy services to help them make their complaint.

Advocacy is defined as "giving active support". This is the role of our Complaints Advocacy Service who are here to support you if you are not satisfied with any aspect of NHS care that you have received and wish to make a complaint.

About our complaints advocacy staff and our service

All our complaints advocacy staff are trained. Our complaints advocates have the National Advocacy Qualification. CHC’s deliver the complaints advocacy service locally in line with national standards set by the Board of CHCs in Wales.

What our complaints advocacy service can and can’t do

Our complaints advocacy service can:

  • Support you to make a complaint about a service, care or treatment provided or paid for by the NHS
  • Support you to make a complaint on someone else’s behalf, including if someone has died
  • Listen to your concerns
  • Signpost you to other organisations if we think that someone else can also help
  • Answer questions about the NHS concerns process and explain your options
  • Provide a step by step guide to the NHS concerns process and offer some tips
  • Provide you with a trained complaints advocate, an experienced worker who can help you raise your concern and support you through the process.

Our complaints advocacy service can’t:

  • Make decisions on your behalf
  • Offer an opinion on the validity of a concern
  • Offer clinical opinions or give medical advice
  • Offer advice about on-going care and treatment
  • Investigate concerns
  • Provide support with Continuing Healthcare or Individual Patient Funding Request Panels
  • Provide support at inquests
  • Offer additional support such as bereavement and counselling. Contact details for such professionals can be provided if required
  • Help you to raise a concern yourself if you are under 18 years old
  • Usually work on concerns that are over 12 months old unless you have only just found out that you have cause for complaint, or have some other good reason for not raising your concerns sooner
  • Give legal advice or help with legal action
  • Help with issues not covered by NHS complaints regulations. This includes things like privately funded treatment
  • Get NHS staff disciplined
  • Help you if you don’t live in Wales.

Even if we are not able to help with an issue, we may be able to signpost you to someone else who can help. Please do ask us.

When can our Complaints Advocacy Service help?

The NHS Wales concerns process “Putting things right” is designed to help people to get their concerns heard and where possible, resolved.

It encourages people to talk to their healthcare provider who may be able to get something put right there and then. If you’re not sure, you can contact us and we will help you find the right person to talk to.

Our complaints advocacy service can help you at any stage in the NHS Wales concerns process.

Read more on How we can help

Board of Community Health Councils in Wales, 3rd Floor, 33 - 35 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9HB
Phone: 02920 235 558 Email:

This page is also available in Welsh. Please click on ‘Cymraeg’ at the top of the page
We welcome correspondence in Welsh, and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to delay