What is the Patient Advice and Liaison Service?
We know that it can be a worrying and confusing time when you or someone you know is unwell. If you have concerns or questions about any aspect of your care, or the service you receive, it is best to first speak with a member of staff involved with your/their care. If you find that staff cannot help you, or you are not comfortable speaking with them, you can contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
If you have any questions, problems or concerns about your care or the care of the person you are looking after you can contact us and we can help you to obtain answers to your queries. The service is free and completely confidential. If we cannot help you immediately, we will take details of your problem and ask the relevant department or ward to contact you. If the concern you bring to us is about another trust we will contact the relevant trust so that they help you, or we will give you the information you need to contact the correct trust. If necessary we can also refer patients and families to specific local or national based support agencies.
What can we do for you?
- Give on the spot help for patients, carers, families and friends. If you are worried about any part of your own, your friend’s or your family’s care we can help to sort the problem out or tell you who can help you. We can help with any problem big or small.
- Give you information – we can tell you about the services available within our Trust. We can also tell you how to make a formal complaint about the service you have used.
- Tell you where to get help – There are many organisations such as local support groups and voluntary groups that are able to give you advice. PALS can tell you about these groups and how you can contact them.
- Refer you to independent advocacy services – PALS have details of POWhER who provide free and independent advocacy that will be able to support you when you need to make a formal complaint.
- Listen to what you think of our hospital services – If you have anything to say about the service you have received then you can tell us. We will make sure this information is used to improve patient care in the future.
- Take details of praise and compliments you wish to pass on in relation to the care and treatment you have received.
What we can’t do?
- We cannot offer a counselling service
- We are unable to give you detailed medical information or a medical diagnosis
- We are unable to change or affect a medical decision that has been made
- We will not investigate formal complaints but we will inform and support people who wish to use the NHS complaints procedure. There is no formal requirement for anyone to use PALS first if they wish to make a formal complaint.
Frequently asked questions
These are a few questions which are commonly asked. Please contact us if your question isn’t answered below.
How do enquiries to PALS differ from formal complaints?
PALS staff will not pursue a concern that is already being addressed through the Trust’s complaints procedure. If a person has previously made a formal complaint to the Trust about a particular issue, PALS staff cannot take further action to resolve the matter. If the issue needs serious, in depth or formal investigation, or if a person wishes to make a formal complaint, PALS will explain the complaints procedure, and provide information of independent advocacy and support should they so wish. PALS can also pass their query on to the Complaints and Legal Services Department. If you wish to make a formal complaint please complete the online complaints form.
Will anyone know I have contacted PALS?
No – PALS is a confidential NHS service. We will not speak to anyone about you unless we have your permission to do so, except where this may affect your own or someone else’s health and safety. Your enquiry can remain anonymous, although to ensure that all concerns are bought to the Trust’s attention, records of all enquiries are kept. We regularly use this information to compile reports about the work we are doing, and the issues that patients are raising with us. However, all our reports are anonymised, and we take care to ensure that no enquirers can be identified. Information about you may be held in our database and you may at any time see the information the PALS Team hold about you. We are registered under the Data Protection Act for this purpose.
Will my care be affected by contacting PALS?
The care you receive will not be adversely affected by speaking to PALS or raising a complaint.
Can I ask for information about the care and treatment of my relative?
The PALS team have a duty of confidentiality to our patients. This means that we will not share information about a patient without their permission to do so. This does not mean that we will not look into the concerns of relatives or friends about a patient’s care and treatment, but it does mean that we will not always be able to share the full results of our investigations.
How do I contact PALS?
Please see how to contact PALS for further information.
Complaints and concerns leaflet
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