There may be times when vulnerable patients and/or their carers need assistance in gaining the help, support and advice they need. This could be for a variety of reasons, including when they are looking to access benefits, support, or health and social services.

An advocate is a person independent of the NHS and social services, who is not one of the patient’s family or friends. They will help direct the patient to gain, argue the patient’s case and help to make sure that correct procedures are followed.

Not every area of the country has a dedicated advocacy service, however if they do it can usually be found through the local council. Patients can find this out by going to the local council website or visiting

Greenwich Mind

Telephone: 020 3198 2222

Greenwich Mind advocates work as instructed by the client. Therefore they work differently according to the needs and wishes of our individual clients. Some common examples of advocacy work include:

  • Listening to you and helping you have your voice heard.
  • Supporting you in making complaints regarding services.
  • Supporting you with regard to accessing personal budgets (‘personalisation’).
  • Supporting you in seeking to further your education, including accessing grants, etc.
  • Supporting you in gaining legal advice and representation if necessary.
  • Providing information on community groups and support networks.

If you have a care coordinator from your local social services or healthcare team, they could be another point of call for the patient.

Help can also be gained from services such as Age UK and Diabetes UK, who can help patients find the help and support they need.

Care UK have a free advice line for carers on 0808 808 7777, or you can visit their website at