Still time to comment on advocacy

There is still time for the public to give their views on what they think about local independent advocacy services in Ayrshire.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran is consulting with the public on the draft joint strategic plan for independent advocacy. This consultation period will run until 31 August 2012.

Independent advocacy supports people who may face particular difficulties when trying to make their own needs or wants known.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the three local authorities have a legal duty to work together to make sure that all adults and children with a mental disorder have access to independent advocacy services. Our joint strategic plan sets out how we will do this over the next three years.

Andrew Moore, Assistant Director of Nursing - Patient and Community Relations said: “The aim of independent advocacy is to make sure that vulnerable people are supported to express their own needs and wants and are able to make their own informed decisions.”

Some people need the support of an independent advocate to: help them express their own needs, views or wishes, speak up for them, get information for them, explore options and help them make decisions.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s last three-year plan to develop independent advocacy in Ayrshire came to an end in 2007. Since that time, NHS Ayrshire & Arran has been working with East Ayrshire Council, North Ayrshire Council and South Ayrshire Council to look at how we commission local independent advocacy services.

Andrew Moore added: “We are working with local independent providers of advocacy services to discuss how we can get better at making sure that all vulnerable people who are entitled to independent advocacy are better supported to do so.

“If you have experience of using independent advocacy services, or if you care for someone who does, please let us know how we can ensure the needs of patients and carers are met.”

You can find out more about the consultation by visiting www.nhsaaa.net and clicking on How to get involved.

If you would like some more information on independent advocacy, visit the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance website at www.siaa.org.uk.