The free and independent Wolverhampton Health Advocacy and Complaints Service (WHACS) will support local residents who want to raise concerns about the service they have received from the NHS.
Patients or family members who wish to make a complaint on any issue of their care will be given an advocate by WHACS to help them through the NHS complaints process, or enable them to have their say in another appropriate way.
The nature of complaints WHACS expects to receive vary, but could include concerns about the treatment provided or diagnosis received, the attitude of staff and communications between the NHS and patients.
The new service launches on Tuesday (April 2, 2013) and will be managed by Wolverhampton disability support organisation One Voice and Access2Business. It will replace the current Independent Complaints Advocacy Service, provided by a Department of Health contractor, as part of the wider transfer of a range of health service functions from the NHS to local authorities.
WHACS will be joined by Healthwatch Wolverhampton, a new health and social care watchdog also being launched on April 1 which will use the experiences of patients and care users to help shape services.
In addition, Healthwatch Wolverhampton will provide information and advice to help people make choices about the services they receive, as well as empowering individuals to speak out if they feel they have been let down by health and social care providers in any way, including via the Wolverhampton Health Advocacy and Complaints Service.
Councillor Sandra Samuels, Wolverhampton City Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Both Wolverhampton Health Advocacy and Complaints Service and Healthwatch Wolverhampton will have an important role to play in ensuring people get the care they should expect from the NHS.
“The vast majority of people who use the NHS receive an excellent level of service, but very occasionally things go wrong and it is important that when it does, people have the opportunity to raise their concerns and the authorities are also able to act upon them to ensure, wherever possible, the same thing doesn’t happen again.
“I am pleased that services such as Wolverhampton Health Advocacy and Complaints Service and Healthwatch Wolverhampton will be there to offer people help and support when they need it.”
From April 2, people will be able to contact the Wolverhampton Health Advocacy and Complaints Service by calling 01902 572399, logging on to www.whacs.org.uk or visiting its offices in person at Regent House, Bath Avenue, Wolverhampton WV1 4EG.
From April 1 2013, the statutory responsibility and associated funding for providing an independent complaints advocacy service will transfer from the Department of Health to local authorities such as Wolverhampton City Council. The current advocacy service is provided through POHWER, the Department of Health’s appointed contractor, and will end on March 30, 2013.
WHACS will be managed by Wolverhampton disability support organisation One Voice and Access2Business which were selected via competitive tendering.