Independent Health Complaints Advocacy

We understand that you might need support to make a complaint about an NHS Service. In partnership with Surrey Independent Living Charity (SILC), formerly Surrey Independent Living Council, we are able to provide free, independent support and assistance to people who live in Surrey. We work to ensure people can represent their own interests as far as possible and not to offer advice on how we think an individual should act.

You can make a complaint about hospitals, GPs, mental health services, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, opticians, 111, walk-in centres, NHS-funded private care and more.

Details of other advocacy support and contact details can be found on our Signposting page

NHS complaints

Most of us use the NHS at some point in our lives and many of us use these services regularly. Whilst the NHS works hard to make sure that people are satisfied with the services sometimes things do go wrong.  The NHS complaints procedure is in place to make sure that issues are resolved at a local level.

What do we do?

Advocates support you through the whole NHS complaints process. They explain the options available and support you to pursue your chosen course of action. They only do what you ask them to and will not try to tell you what to do. They do not investigate or encourage complaints, nor do they offer legal or medical advice. The service is free, independent and confidential.

Their aim is to ensure that:

  • You are in control of decisions which are made about you
  • Your experiences, views, wishes and feelings are heard
  • You can contribute to improving the health and care services you use

An Advocate can: 

  • Answer your questions to help you make decisions
  • Send you our Step by Step self help information pack (can also be found at the bottom of this page)
  • Help you write letters to the right people
  • Provide you with one to one support and explain your options
  • Prepare you for meetings and attend with you
  • Monitor the progress of your complaint and help you to get the best possible resolution

An Advocate cannot: 

  • Give you legal or medical advice
  • Provide counselling
  • Help you complain about a private healthcare provider
  • Get an NHS employee disciplined
  • Provide a secretarial service.

How do we do it?

We can provide information about the complaints procedure for people who wish to make a complaint by themselves, but just need a little bit more guidance before they start. In many cases, we can also provide an advocate who can discuss your particular situation, explain the complaints procedure, and possibly help you to draft a letter or attend a meeting with you.

We will seek the outcome you want whether it is a written explanation from the NHS on why something went wrong, a simple explanation about your care or treatment, a meeting with a senior NHS person, an apology or an explanation of how the NHS will improve.

How to access our services:

If you would like our help or to find out more, please contact Surrey Independent Living Charity (SILC) via

Telephone: 01483 310 500 (10am-4.30pm Monday – Friday excluding bank holidays)



You can also self-refer online by completing and returning this Referral Form or complete the form below if you are happy to be contacted back.

A member of staff is available on the phone: Monday – Friday, 10am – 4.30pm. Outside of these hours there is an answering machine service. Your call will be returned within 3 working days.

  • Please enter your full name
  • Please give us a number on which we can contact you to discuss your query.
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