Independent Advice and Support Service for NHS Scotland

Independent Advice and Support Service for NHS Scotland


Senscot Information Note




A)         New Requirements


1)       The previous system for handling patients’ complaints within the NHS was ineffective and ended by the Health Department on March 31 2005.


2)       The consultation paper Reforming the NHS Complaints Procedure saw it as vital that in-dividuals wishing to use the NHS Complaints Procedure have access to help to understand and navigate the system and, where necessary, support to draft letters and attend meetings.  A National Framework Document for an Independent Advice and Support Service is still being finalised. Two essential components of the service will be:


a)   advice and support service to patients wishing to make a complaint or raise concerns about NHS services


b)   information and advice to patients on a variety of issues that impact on their health and well-being in order to maintain or improve these.


3)   Each NHS Area Health Board will be required to commission an organisation (or organi-sations) to provide the essential services outlined in this framework. The service commis-sioned by an NHS Board should provide advice and support to people using services even where this is provided by another NHS Board.



B)         The “Core Service” 


1)       The service will:


a)   provide information and advice about NHS service provision and procedures


b)   assist people take their complaint through all appropriate procedures, including where required local resolution and consideration by the Scottish Public Services Ombuds-man or an appropriate professional or statutory organisation                                            


c)   advise people on their rights under appropriate legislation to access information and support them to access information


d)   advise on the procedures and provide support where required on matters relating to continuing care where a person wishes to appeal being discharged from inpatient care


e)   provide general information, advice and support to patients to assist them to cope with the effects of illness or disability, helping to reduce anxiety and stress.



C)         Central Unit


A Central Unit at Citizens’ Advice Scotland will be funded and available to service providers contracted to provide an Independent Advice and Support Service for NHS Boards.  This will also involve provision of training.


D)         Service Standards


1) The service will provide assistance in a number of ways including:


a)   directing patients to specific sources to obtain information they require – giving out leaflets, supplying details of telephone help lines, websites


b)   exploring options available to a patient to resolve an issue, supplying a self-help pack


c)   contacting third parties by telephone when authorised by the patient or assisting pa-tients to compile letters


d)   accompanying a patient to meetings or assisting them when review personal files


e)   specialist support or advocacy services if the patient requires additional support.


E)         Participation of Interested Organisations


1) A preliminary indication would be helpful of how Interested Organisations might propose to participate in the new service.  Is your organisation able?


a)   In partnership with Citizens’ Advice Scotland and local Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, to offer of a full range of services


b)   To offer locations where people can access advice and information and then if required be referred to caseworkers for further support


c)   To offer other ways of participation and partnership


d)   To suggest other areas where your organisation may be able to work with Citizens’ Advice Scotland, local Citizens’ Advice Bureaux and other organisations




Please respond, preferably by e mail, to:             


PO Box 6000   Auchterarder PH3 1YX

Telephone:   01764 66 00 80

E Mail: