Hospital Individual Advocacy Service

We provide independent advocacy to mental health service users at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital who are being considered for compulsory treatment under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 and/or who are voluntarily admitted in the following areas of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital:

  • Acute, rehabilitation and forensic (The Orchard Clinic) services
  • Care of older people in hospital (Eden and Comiston wards)
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service – inpatients and day-patients
  • Ritson Clinic, (alcohol in-patient service) on a case by case basis.

We aim to empower service users under the Summary of Principles of the Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 by providing service users with practical resources to enable them to participate as fully as possible in all aspects of their care and treatment and to encourage individuals to work towards an empowering position of self advocating.

NB: Patients from East and Midlothian in acute wards are served by CAPS Independent Advocacy.  Patients in care of older people dementia wards are served by Partners in Advocacy.


  • To provide a high quality, independent professional advocacy service which is free of charge to individual service users in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
  • To train advocacy workers to provide this service and ensure that staff are appropriately equipped to ensure equitable and appropriate advocacy to mental health service users which is inclusive of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, faith/belief, sexual orientation and/or socio economic position.
  • To enable users of mental health services in the
    Royal Edinburgh Hospital access to independent advocacy services
  • To establish and maintain links with the relevant statutory and voluntary agencies contributing to the support of the service user.
  • To empower individuals to make and state choices with regard to the relevant aspects of their care and treatment.
  • To review and revise advocacy support at an individual level while in hospital and following discharge.


The Service operates Monday to Friday 9 am to 5pm and responds to referrals within 72 hours of receipt on working days. Occasional evening cover is available if required if a Mental Health Tribunal overruns.

Service users are encouraged to self refer but additionally appropriate referrals are accepted from staff and other relevant agencies and individuals including carers, with the service users consent.

We will assist individuals to draft Advance Statements, nominate a Named Person and provide representation and advocacy support at Mental Health Tribunals, Appeals and any relevant follow up issues.

We will provide advocacy support around a wide range of issues that can affect a person’s life enabling people to speak for themselves and gain control over their lives.

We allocate service users to advocacy workers. The allocation process will at all times be to the maximum benefit of the service users whilst according with the availability of advocacy workers.

An initial meeting will be held with the advocacy worker and service user to establish all relevant information and formulate a plan of action in accordance with service user’s instructions.

A formulated action plan may include assistance with a range of issues aimed at enabling individuals to express their views and choices. This may include speaking on behalf of the individual, prompting, and note taking on their behalf. Assistance could take the form of providing any other practical or moral support required under the principles, which govern the Service.

The Service does not offer befriending, advice, care and support or counselling.


The staff team currently comprises of:

  • Project Manager
  • 7 x Advocacy Workers
  • 1 x Administrator

Where appropriate staff will work with other agencies contributing to the support needs of the service user within the boundaries of the advocacy role. Where necessary this can include free access to the Interpreting Service or cultural support from the NHS Lothian Minority Ethnic Health Inclusion Service.


  • We will accept self-referrals and will manage the monitoring of eligibility to receive services.
  • Service users can self define their mental well-being and we will assess their eligibility to use the service by clarifying current contact with mental health services.
  • We will accept referrals over the phone or in writing, with the service users’ consent.
  • We will establish that there is an advocacy need through appropriate discussion with the service user. This will include informing individuals about advocacy, what it is and what it can do.
  • Referrals will generally be allocated on receipt to the service through prioritising based on capacity. When there is no spare capacity referrals will subject to a waiting list and period and will be dealt with through a system of prioritising, based on urgency.

You can contact us at Andrew Duncan Clinic, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Morningside Place, Edinburgh EH10 5HF. Tel 0131 537 6004, Fax 0131 447 4559, Text 07920 207568.
email: [email protected]