An advocate is someone who supports a person who is vulnerable and helps them to have their say. There are many different types of advocacy services but an advocate is generally independent and free from conflicts of interest.

People being treated under the Mental Health Act

Under the Mental Health Act we have a duty to provide Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHA) for people who are detained. This includes people who are subject to Guardianship or Community Treatment Orders. The service is free and confidential. A non-statutory IMHA service is also available for Derbyshire residents who are informal patients in NHS or independent hospitals. The (IMHA) can be contacted by a patient or a family member or friend. IMHA’s provide advice and support on:

  • the Mental Health Act and how it is applied
  • the types of treatment that might be offered
  • a person’s legal rights
  • the tribunal process.

The IMHA service includes helping people to exercise their rights, which can include representing them and speaking on their behalf. IMHAs may also support patients in a range of ways to ensure they can participate in the decisions that are made about their care and treatment.

The current IMHA services are provided by an organisation is:

Derbyshire Mind

tel: 01332 623732.

People who do not have capacity to make their own decisions

This statutory service aims to provide additional safeguards for people who lack the capacity to take decisions in certain specific, important situations. They may also be particularly vulnerable because they have no close relative or friends, or any other person to protect their interests.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCA) support and represent people in this situation. They look at the way particular decisions are being made but do not make the decisions on someone’s behalf. Across Derbyshire the IMCA service is provided by Derbyshire Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy Service which is a partnership between Derbyshire MIND and Derbyshire Advocacy. The IMCA service also provide representatives as part of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLs) requirements which ensure that someone is only deprived of their liberty when it is in their best interest.

For more information on this service or to download a referral form:  Derbyshire IMCA website or tel: 01332 380224.

NHS independent complaints advocacy

This service provides independent support to assist any adult who wishes to make a complaint about an NHS funded service, either regarding their own treatment or that of a family member, child or carer. This advocacy service is currently is free and confidential. It will help people understand their rights, assist with complaints, applications and support people at meetings.

tel: 01332 623732.

Advocacy rights under the Care Act 2014

In April 2015 the new Care Act became law. This places a new requirement on local authorities with statutory responsibility for social care.

The act requires authorities to ensure that clients are fully involved in their assessments, reviews and the development of their support plans, and safeguarding enquiries and reviews. If someone is likely to have ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved, and if they do not have an appropriate person to support and represent them, then we have a duty to arrange independent advocacy. Please speak to an Adult Care worker for more information.

Other providers of advocacy services in Derbyshire:

© Healthwatch Derbyshire 2021

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