Maternity and neonatal independent senior advocates

What is a maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate?

Our advocates help make sure the voices of women and families are listened to, heard and acted upon by their maternity and neonatal services.

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Find out about the role of a maternity and neonatal independant senior advocate

If while using maternity or neonatal services in Kent or Medway you have experienced any of the following, our independent senior advocates should be able to help you.

  • After 24 weeks of your pregnancy, your baby died (stillbirth). 
  • Your baby died within the first 28 days after they were born.
  • Your partner (or close family member) died during pregnancy, labour or within a  year of giving birth.
  • You had a hysterectomy (your womb was removed) within six weeks of giving birth, and you did not expect this to happen.  
  • You were cared for on the intensive or critical care unit and you did not expect this to happen. 
  • You were told that your baby had or might have a brain injury (HIE). 

We are really sorry you have experienced any of these. 

Your advocate is here for you and can: 

  • take the time to listen to you and understand what has happened
  • go to meetings with you
  • explain your options and support you in your next steps
  • help you if you want someone to know you are unhappy about your care
  • support you through investigation and complaints processes.

Our service is free, there is no charge.

You do not need to be sure if there were mistakes to ask for support. You don’t have to use a maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate if you do not want to, and you can stop contact at any time without giving a reason.

Although you may have had a very distressing experience of maternity or neonatal services, we are currently only able to support those in the situations listed at the top of this page.

If the advocate is not the right person to support you, they will tell you about other services available.

An advocate is not the right person to help if:

  • all your investigations or complaints have been concluded and you were actively included in these
  • you have general queries related to maternity and neonatal services.

Patient information

For Kent and Medway, the advocates are Juliette Wales and Carole Whittaker.


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Phone Juliette Wales on 07385 399517

Advocate covering Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and East Kent University Hospital Foundation Trust.


Carole Whittaker.png





Phone Carole Whittaker on 07766 997930

Advocate covering Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and Medway NHS Foundation Trust.


You can contact us or ask someone you know to help you such as a midwife, health visitor, your GP, social worker, a local charity or a friend.

Please tell us if you need an interpreter or have any accessibility or communication needs. We will be happy to arrange one for you. 

They are employed by NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board.

This is a separate NHS organisation from the trusts that run hospitals and provide maternity and neonatal services.

Everything you say to an advocate is confidential. This means they will not share anything you tell them, unless you say they can. 

The only exception is if they are worried about your safety or the safety of others, which they would discuss with you first. 

The role was created to support women and families in England following the investigation into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital.

The advocate project is designed to see how women and families can best be supported following an adverse outcome. 

The role has been co-produced by NHS England working with families and maternity and neonatal staff.

If you have a complaint about your maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate, please contact the ICB's complaints team.

If the advocate is not the right person to help, you can access other support at the links below.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at the hospital trusts

PALS provides help, information and non-medical advice about your care and treatment. It can help you with queries, resolve concerns or making a formal complaint.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnership (MNVP)

The role of the MNVP is to listen to the experiences of women and families and bring together service users and staff to plan, review and improve maternity and neonatal care.

East Kent
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells
North Kent

Advocacy services

The Advocacy People and Libra Partnership are free and independent advocacy services that provides support and advice with any NHS complaint.

Kent advocacy services provided by Kent Advocacy

Medway advocacy services provided by Libra Partnership

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