Advice and guidance


Booklets and guides

We have a range of guides and help sheets which contain useful information and pointers if you have a quick question about your health and social care.

You and your doctor

You and your doctor

How often do you come out of a consultation wishing that you had asked that important question or you feel you have not understood what the doctor has told you? If you have been in this situation then this booklet is for you.

It has been written to give you practical advice to help you to make the most of your time with the doctor. A well planned consultation will not only make it less stressful for you but will also help your doctor to give you a better service.

You and your doctor

You and your dentist

You and your dentist

Going to the dentist is not like going to the doctor. Most people only go to the doctor when they are unwell, whilst most people who visit their dentist are well and have no symptoms. This can mean that a visit to the dentist is low on some people’s list of priorities.

Anxiety and fear about going to the dentist can also put people off making the appointment. Some people do not know how to find a dentist, whether to be treated on the NHS or privately, what kind of service to expect from the dentist, what treatments are available, and what to do if something goes wrong.

You and your Dentist

How to make a complaint

How to make a complaint

Most patients and their relatives are happy with the healthcare they receive in the UK, but occasionally things go wrong.

When this happens it is vital that patients know where and whom to turn to make their complaint heard.

This guide is intended to give you the options available to ensure your complaint is heard, investigated and addressed.

The NHS Constitution enshrines your right to complain. It gives you the right to have your complaint heard and properly investigated. It also allows you to take the complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you’re not satisfied with the way it is being dealt with.

It also contains legal protections so you can ask for a judicial review if you’ve been directly affected by an unlawful act and receive compensation if you’ve been harmed.

If you have any questions or have any doubts about what is being said then please contact The Patients Association Helpline on 020 8423 8999, who may be able to assist you with your complaint. This can include communicating your concerns directly to your care provider, and supporting you through the complaints process.

How to Make a Complaint

Access to your medical records

Access to your medical records

In recent years the number of people choosing to obtain a copy of their medical records has increased considerably for a wide variety of reasons. Unfortunately, some people are discovering errors, omissions or inaccuracies in their records.

Because medical records are a record of your clinician’s opinion and actions in relation to your healthcare at the time, it is not possible for you to delete or change anything included in your records.

However, a note can be added to your records explaining why you think the records are incorrect, and giving the correct version of events. You do not have to pay for a note to be added in this way.

Seeing your Medical Records

Next of kin

Next of kin

The term next of kin means your nearest relative or someone that you would like to be contacted in an emergency. Asking who your next of kin is lets people know who is important to you and it allows your nominated next of kin to be informed about the care provided to you and decisions about your care that may be taken.

This short leaflet will tell you all you need to know about the role of your next to kin in relation to your health care, how to notify your hospital who your next of kin is, and what happens if you don’t have next of kin.

Next of Kin

Advance Decision

Advance Decision

This guide will explain how to ensure your wishes are known when you can no longer make yourself understood.An Advance Decision used to be known as a Living Will before the Mental Capacity Act 2005 came into effect in October 2007.

Advance Decision

Adult social care

Adult social care

How to get the most out of your GP appointment

How to get the most out of your GP appointment

Unsure of how best to prepare for your GP appointment. This guide talks you through how to make a note of your symptoms, what information is key to assist your doctor in helping you and what kind of questions you should ask.

Getting the most out of your GP appointment

Ten most common complaints

Ten most common complaints

The Patients Association’s national Helpline gets thousands of calls each year from patients and relatives. The calls we receive cover a wide range of topics. We offer advice on all aspects of care, including primary care (e.g., GPs), secondary care (e.g. hospitals), dental care or adult social care (e.g. care homes, day care and home care).
Certain complaints come up time and time again. Some are very distressing, such as complaints about older people getting very poor care when they are in hospital. Other complaints show the need for better information within the health and social care system, such as the need for people to know that they have a right to a second opinion. Not all complaints can be resolved, but they should not be ignored.
In this guide, we have selected the ten most common queries and complaints that we hear about on our Helpline. We hope it is a quick and easy-to-use guide for you or your friends, relatives and carers.

Ten common complaints

 

Not quite answered your question?  Visit our helpline page to get in touch with one of our team.