Advocates in health and social care

Advocates play a crucial role in health and social care by providing a voice for those who may be marginalised or overlooked. They help ensure that the needs and rights of people in the UK are respected and their voices heard.

Health and social care are complex and multifaceted fields, requiring professionals with a range of skills and expertise to provide the best possible care and support to those who need it most. However, even the most skilled and experienced practitioners cannot always advocate effectively for their clients or patients without additional support. This is where advocates play a critical role.

In this guide, we will explore the role of advocates in health and social care and how they can make a real difference in the lives of those they represent.


An advocate in the health and social care system is someone that plays a crucial role in supporting vulnerable or disadvantaged individuals and ensuring that their rights are protected. Healthcare advocacy is especially important for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves or ensure their best interests are being taken care of.

The core objectives of advocacy in health and social care are:

  • Ensuring that the client’s voice, views and experiences are heard and respected.
  • That people always receive equal and fair treatment without experiencing ableism.
  • That they are fully informed of their rights under current legislation to make informed decisions.

The good news is that advocacy is often provided free of charge by independent charities. This can be an invaluable resource when navigating the care system for the first time. Advocates help to ensure that vulnerable individuals are not overlooked or underserved.


If you’re finding it difficult to navigate the complex landscape of health and social care or find it challenging to understand the different options available to you, then you could likely benefit from the support of an advocate.

This is especially true if you have a physical disability, an age-related condition like dementia, or find it tough to make decisions due to an illness, condition, or learning difficulty.

In such cases, an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate can be assigned to assist you or your loved one in making informed care decisions. They can provide guidance, support, and advice to help you understand your options and make choices that align with your wishes and preferences. This is particularly important in situations where important decisions need to be made quickly or where you may be vulnerable and require extra protection.

It is worth noting that free advocacy services are available to help individuals who may require support in understanding their care options. Many of these services can be found through local advocacy organisations and charities. They can provide valuable assistance in navigating the often complex and overwhelming healthcare system.


There are several different types of advocacy services. Different advocates are specially trained to work with people who have specific health conditions or requirements.

Here are some of the most common types of advocacy services:

  • Self-advocacy – The best form of advocacy is often when people are able to speak up for themselves. Self-advocacy groups provide support and confidence to do this by bringing people together who share similar interests or use similar services.
  • Citizen advocacy – A citizen advocate is somebody who voluntarily speaks up for and supports somebody else. A citizen advocate is often unpaid and is often considered a valued member of their local community. The relationship between a citizen advocate and the person they’re speaking on behalf of is based on trust and discretion.
  • Community advocacy – Community advocacy services offer help and support with situations you’re likely to encounter in day-to-day life. A community advocate can provide practical support like writing letters and arranging or attending meetings.
  • Statutory advocacy – There are some government policies and laws related to advocacy and the support required for certain individuals. These policies include the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which provides a framework for decision-making on behalf of those who lack mental capacity, and the Mental Health Act 2007.
  • Independent mental health advocacy – These services are available to individuals who have been placed under a Community Treatment Order or detained under certain sections of the Mental Health Act 1983. These advocates can assist in accessing medical records, providing information on medical care rights, and appealing unfair decisions.
  • Care and support advocacy – A care and support advocate can help navigate the process of finding the right care through your local council. This may include assistance with care needs or financial assessments, creating a care plan, and appealing decisions on behalf of the individual.


An advocate can also provide emotional support and reassurance throughout the advocacy process. They will listen to your concerns and support you in making informed decisions regarding your care. Advocates understand that everyone’s situation is unique and will work with you to find a personalised solution that works best for you.

Here are just some of the ways an advocate can help:

  • Show you how to access the necessary health and social care services you require.
  • Arrange and accompany you to meetings or medical appointments (if you don’t feel confident enough to attend by yourself). This could include a care needs assessment.
  • Get in touch with relevant people for you (or they can pass on the contact details for you to make contact).
  • Provide any information you require (or point you in the right direction for it).
  • Help you explore what options are available to you, as well as make you aware of your rights.
  • Register formal complaints on your behalf (these complaints could be related to the NHS or any other health and social care organisation).
  • Where necessary, liaise with a Community Mental Health Team on your behalf.
  • Assist you in making any formal complaints regarding the conduct of health and social care professionals, if necessary.
  • Discuss changes in health and social care, including ongoing care and discharge from hospitals and other institutions.


There are several independent organisations and charities in the UK that offer free advocacy services to those in need. These include:

  • Independent Advocacy – provides a range of advocacy services to adults and children across the UK
  • VoiceAbility – offers advocacy support for people with learning disabilities, mental health issues, and other conditions
  • Action on Hearing Loss – provides advocacy for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • The Advocacy People – offers a range of advocacy services to help people get the support they need
  • Mind – provides advocacy for people with mental health concerns
  • OPAAL – is a national organisation supporting independent advocacy services for older adults
  • Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance – In Scotland, the SIAA offers help with finding an advocate.
  • Disability Information Scotland – is another organisation that can help you find local advocacy services.

These are just a few examples of the many organisations that offer free advocacy services in the UK. It is important to do careful research to find a service that is best suited to your needs.

If you or a loved one need advocacy support, Prestige Nursing & Care offers a range of at-home care services to help you get the support you need to live life to the full. We can guide you through the process of planning care for yourself or a loved one through impartial advice and guidance.

Contact us today to learn more about how our life-changing home care can improve your quality of life. We are here to support you in navigating the care system with confidence.

We are here to take your call and will provide impartial support and guidance – contact our friendly care experts today to discuss your care needs.

0808 239 1525


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