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Your voice in local health and social care

How to complain about healthcare services

To guide you through the complaints procedure, Healthwatch Southend has produced a self help advocacy pack. This has been designed to give you the knowledge and tools to make a complaint about a health service you have used. Our health complaints advocates are happy to discuss the pack with you, or provide whatever level of support you need to make a complaint.

To open this document click on the pink text

The role of our health complaints advocates

Healthwatch Southend advocates can help you raise a concern or make a complaint about any aspect of NHS care or treatment.

Our service is:

  • independent of the NHS
  • confidential
  • free

The health complaints advocate can:

  • give you a range of information and support to assist you if you wish to make a complaint
  • give you the opportunity to speak confidentially to someone who is independent of the NHS
  • explain the NHS complaints process and provide you with a step by step guide
  • answer questions about the NHS complaints procedure and explain your options
  • put you in touch with other organisations who may be able to help you
  • take time to listen to your experience and talk to you about what support you may require to make your complaint
  • help you consider what you want to achieve from your complaint
  • help you write letters to the right people
  • prepare you for meetings and support you at the meeting (if required)
  • help you think about whether you are happy with the responses you receive from the NHS organisation
  • support you to make a complaint on someone else's behalf, even if that person is deceased
  • support you with a combined complaint about health and social care, for example, hospital discharge

The health complaints advocate will:

  • be impartial and non judgemental
  • listen to your concerns
  • support you to self-advocate
  • respect your confidentiality

The health complaints advocate will not be able to:

  • investigate the complaint on your behalf
  • help with issues not covered by NHS complaints regulations, such as privately funded treatment or complaints about social care only
  • recommend a solicitor
  • give you legal advice or medical advice

Our health complaints advocates can be contacted:

Our health complaints advocates work in accordance with the advocacy charter 2002 and code of practice.



Below are the contact details for some of the services mentioned in our Advocacy Pack. Clicking on the pink text will take you to the websites for these organisations.


Southend Hospital Patient Advice and Liasison Service (PALS)

Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Prittlewell Chase
Westcliff on Sea
Essex SS0 0RY

Telephone:  01702 385333

Fax: 01702 385915

Email:  PALS@southend.nhs.uk


Basildon Hospital Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

PALS Office, Level A, The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre

Telephone: 01268 394440



SEPT Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

PALS, The Lodge, The Chase,Wickford, Essex SS11 7XX

FREEPHONE: 0800 085 7935
Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, Answerphone at all other times


In South-East Essex SEPT is responsible for a variety of mainly-community-based health and social care. Clicking on the pink text will take you to the relevant pages on the SEPT website where you can read about these services in greater detail.


The Parliamentary & Health Service Omsbudsman

Millbank Tower

Customer Helpline: 0345 015 4033

Textphone (minicom): 0300 061 4298

Fax: 0300 061 4000


Below is a signed and captioned film that explains the function of the Parliamentary & Health Service Omsbudsman. There is no sound in this video.




by telephone on

01702 416320

by email at


by post at

Healthwatch Southend,
Centre Place
15 Prospect Close

Essex, SS1 2JB

Our office hours are 9am-5pm (Monday-Friday). Outside of these hours you can call and leave a message.