Frequently Asked Questions
Below we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Healthwatch North Lincolnshire via telephone and email.
However, if you have a query or concern which isn’t listed, please feel free to get in touch by calling us on 01724 844986 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.
Who can complain?
Anyone can complain about NHS services or treatment they have received, or if they have been affected by the cations or decisions of an NHS organisation, or primary care practitioner. If you are unable to complain yourself, someone can act on your behalf with written consent.
Your rights and how to make a complaint
A complaint should be made within 12 months from the date it occurred or when it came to your attention. In some cases if there is good reason why you could not complain sooner and it is still possible to investigate your complaint, it may be possible to waive the time limit.
If you want to raise a complaint with a primary care service (including GP practice, dentist, or pharmacy), please try to make an initial formal complaint directly to the service you have issues with. For example, if you have had issues with your GP, please raise your concern with you GP practice manager.
If after doing this you are not content with the outcome, you may want to escalate your complaint to NHS England. You can contact NHS England on 0300 311 2233 or by sending an email to email@example.com
If you are not satisfied with the result, you may wish to proceed further with your complaint and contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmen by calling 0345 015 4033 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
To make a complaint about hospital services, you should contact your local PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service). Scunthorpe hospital PALS can be contacted on 01724 290132. More information about PALS can be found here.
If your complaint is about a CCG commissioning or funding decision you should call 01652 251005 or send an email to email@example.com
If you have tried the procedure above and are dissatisfied with the response, please contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmen by calling 0345 015 4033 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The NHS website also gives details of your rights and how to make a complaint.
Many people have told us that they are finding it difficult to find NHS dental services locally.
Is this the case for you? Please tell us your experiences.
The NHS UK website has details of any NHS dentists in your area taking on new clients, however the site is not always up to date so ringing dentist directly may also help.
If after contacting several dental practices you still can't find a dentist accepting NHS patients, you should call NHS England's Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233.
NHS England commissions dental services in England and is required to meet the needs of their local population for both urgent and routine dental care.
If NHS England has been unable to help you find a dentist and you want to raise your concerns about this, contact them on:
If you're still not satisfied with NHS England's response, you can take your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
If you have a dental emergency, or are experiencing pain, bleeding, or swelling, please call NHS 111 for advice.
If appropriate, they may be able to book you in for an emergency dental appointment.
When you're feeling unwell or have an injury, it can be difficult to know where to turn for support. But by making sure you use the most appropriate service, you can help to ensure your issue is dealt with quicker, and reduce pressure on the NHS.
At-home self care:
Minor injuries and illnesses such as cuts or grazes, coughs and colds can be treated at home. Try and keep basic medication such as paracetamol and cough syrup in a secure place (out of the reach of children) to use when needed. A small first aid kit containing plasters, antiseptic wipes and bandages can also be useful for small cuts and mild burns.
Pharmacists can offer a range of advice and medicines for illnesses such as stomach trouble, allergies, aches, pains, colds and more.
Many can also offer advice on any any travel vaccinations you may require, in addition to administering flu jabs.
If you have questions or concerns about a medication you are taking, or are experiencing side effects, your local pharmacist can offer advice and information.
If a pharmacist is unable to help you further, they will advise you which service is the most appropriate to use.
For illnesses that cannot be treated at home or at a pharmacy, please book an appointment with your registered GP. This includes concerns around your mental health, as well as physical health.
Your GP can provide advice, examinations, prescriptions, vaccinations, and referrals to other services for further investigation or treatment where necessary.
If you are unable to see your doctor but you need advice quickly, please visit 111.nhs.uk.
You will be asked a series of questions about your symptoms, and then given advice on when and where to seek help.
If needed, a nurse practitioner will also be able to give you a call to discuss your issues further.
This service is available 24/7.
If you need urgent advice and cannot wait to see your GP, and don't have access to the internet to use 111.nhs.uk please call NHS 111. A trained operator will ask you questions about your symptoms and be able to provide advice.
NHS 111 is available 24/7.
Minor Injuries Unit/Urgent Treatment Centre:
You can go to an urgent treatment centre if you need urgent medical attention, but it's not life threatening.
This includes treatment or conditions and injuries such as sprains, suspected broken limbs, minor head injuries, skin infections and rashes, eye problems, sickness, and diarrhoea.
Accident and Emergency (A&E):
A&E departments in hospitals are open 24/7 for people who are experiencing life-threatening illnesses such as loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, bleeding which wont stop, severe burns, stroke, or major trauma such as the result of a traffic accident.
You should only call 999 in medical emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, and you can't safely get them to A&E.
Medical emergencies can include loss of consciousness, an acute confused state, fits that don't stop, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe allergic reactions, severe bleeding which won't stop, or a serious head injury.
Call 999 immediately if you or someone else is having a heart attack or stroke. Every second counts with these conditions.
If you are struggling with your mental health, it's important that you seek help as soon as possible.
Below are a number of different services and organisations who provide a variety of advice and support, depending on what your issue is and your age.
If you are struggling with low mood, anxiety, or other mental health difficulties, you may want to speak to your GP. Your GP will ask you some questions about how you're feeling, and may provide you with advice or a treatment plan, which could include a referral for counselling or a mental health assessment, or a prescription to help with your symptoms.
Every Mind Matters:
On the NHS website you can find the Every Mind Matters page, which provides information and advice on how to manage low mood, anxiety, sleep problems, and stress. The website contains practical tips, as well as resources to access further support.
The Talking Shop:
Located in Scunthorpe, The Talking Shop offers access to psychological therapies.
Patients can self-refer into the service, where they will then receive a telephone consultation to work out the most appropriate treatment.
Treatments provided include face-to-face appointments, stress control groups, Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT), and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR).
You can find out more and self refer at iapt.rdash.nhs.uk/about-north-lincs-iapt/ or by calling The Talking Shop on 01724 867297.
Scunthorpe and District Mind:
Mind offer support to local people struggling with a variety of mental health difficulties including depression and anxiety.
Alongside 1-1 support, peer support sessions and activity groups, they also provide a service called The Haven, which offers telephone support every night between 6pm and midnight. Trained mental health support workers can support people to manage thoughts of self harm, low mood and anxiety, to help prevent them reaching crisis point.
You can contact Scunthorpe and District Mind by calling 01724 279500
The Access Team (also known as Crisis Team) :
The access team carry out mental health risk/needs assessments for people experiencing a mental health crisis, who have been referred to the Access Team by a family psychiatric/mental health practitioner, or by Accident and Emergency Department (A&E).
They also offer a 24/7 phoneline for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis and need help immediately.
They can be called on 01724 382015
Qwell for Men is a free online mental health and wellbeing support service for men. The service is available to men aged 18 and over, providing a safe and confidential space to share experiences and gain support from qualified professionals.
You can find out more and create an account at www.qwell.io/hcv
Kooth is a free online mental health and emotional wellbeing support service for children and young people living in North Lincolnshire.
People aged between 11 and 18 in these areas can register to use Kooth, a free, anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing service which can be accessed using a computer, smartphone or tablet device.
It offers one on one online sessions with qualified counsellors, peer-to-peer support through moderated online forums, and the opportunity to read and contribute articles.
Kooth can also be used to keep an online journal and track your wellbeing via an interactive goal tracker. There are no waiting lists or thresholds for use, so people can use the service as soon as they register.
For more information and to register an account, please visit www.kooth.com/
Young Minds are the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people's mental health.
Their website provides information for both young people and their parents and carers, to help provide support for a range of mental health difficulties.
They also provide a free 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis. To use their crisis service, please text YM to 85258
For more information and to access their other resources, please visit www.youngminds.org.uk/
North Lincolnshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) provides mental health assessments, therapy and interventions for children and young people up to the age of 18 years.
They also work to support their families or identified carers when children and young people are experiencing emotional or mental health difficulties.
Between 9 am – 5pm you can contact the CAMHS team or your care coordinator (if you are already seeing someone in CAMHS) on 01724 408460
Advocacy means getting support from another person to help you express your views and wishes, and to help make sure your voice is heard. Someone who helps you in this way is called your advocate.
Cloverleaf Advocacy support people in North Lincolnshire with a variety of different types of advocacy including;
- Independent Mental Health Advocacy
- Care Act Advocacy
- Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy
- DoLS IMCA
- Relevant Person's Representative
- Independent Health Complaints Advocacy
- Non Statutory Community Advocacy
- Carers Advocacy
If you feel you would benefit from the support of Cloverleaf Advocacy, you can self refer by completing an online form at cloverleaf-advocacy.co.uk/referral-forms.php
or by calling them on 01724 854952
If you feel you need some additional support in the form of a carer, specialist equipment, or financial support, a Care Assessment carried out by North Lincolnshire Council may be able to help.
A care assessment is an opportunity to look at what support would help you remain independent and explore how to meet your care needs. There is no charge for a care.
Anyone is entitled to a care assessment if they feel they need support with care needs or to continue to live independently.
You can complete an online initial care assessment by clicking here and once it has been submitted, the North Lincolnshire Council Access Team will contact you to discuss it.
If you are unable to complete the online request for an initial care assessment, please contact them on email@example.com or 01724 297000.
Choosing a care home for yourself or a loved one can be a difficult decision to make and isn't something you should rush.
There are two main types of care home; residential care homes or nursing care homes.
- Residential care homes can provide short term care (respite) or long term care and include accommodation, meals and personal care
- Nursing homes have registered nurses on site who can provide help with more complex health needs.
If you decide that a care home would be the most suitable option, then you may want to have a care assessment to see if you can have any financial support towards your care.
It is also recommended that anybody who is going to be accessing social care should seek independent financial advice so they can get the most out of their assets and savings.
Finding the right home
When starting to consider which home is the right one, it's worth taking the time to gather as much information as possible. Things to think about include:
- The home's location
- The cost of care
- The home's services
You may also want to:
- Phone the care home or visit their website to request a brochure
- Request a visit to look around the care home and speak to staff face-to-face.
- Read the latest inspection report about the care home by the CQC.
At Healthwatch North Lincolnshire, we regularly carry out visits to local care homes and produce reports on our findings. These are available for you to read under 'What We Do'.
The NHS website has a handy search tool that lets you find care homes near you, view what others have said about them, and access the latest CQC inspection reports.
There are many sources of information that can help you choose the right home for you. You can get further advice and assistance to help you choose a care home from a range of other websites such as:
Live Well North Lincolnshire is a one-stop place for residents and visitors to find a wide range of organisations; support groups, community groups, events and activities that can help improve their health and wellbeing.
The directory is a joint initiative between North Lincolnshire Council, the North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and other partners from across the public, voluntary and community sector with an interest in improving community wellbeing in North Lincolnshire.