The NHS employs over a million staff in thousands of locations. It is a large and complex organisation providing a broad range of services. It is not surprising that sometimes you or a loved one may feel bewildered or concerned when using the NHS. And this can be at times when you are feeling at your most vulnerable and anxious.
So, what should you do if you want on the spot help when using the health service? The NHS expects all members of staff to listen and respond to you to the best of their ability. But sometimes, you may wish to talk to someone employed especially to help you. The Patient Advice and Liaison Service, known as PALS, has been introduced to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, and answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible.
PALS also helps the NHS to improve services by listening to what matters to patients and their loved ones and making changes, when appropriate.
What PALS do Can do for You?
In Particular, PALS Will:
- Provide you with information about the NHS and help you with any other health-related enquiry.
- Help resolve concerns or problems when you are using the NHS.
- Provide information about the NHS complaints procedure and how to get independent help if you decide you may want to make a complaint.
- Provide you with information and help introduce you to agencies and support groups outside the NHS.
- Inform you about how you can get more involved in your own healthcare and the NHS locally.
- Improve the NHS by listening to your concerns, suggestions and experiences and ensuring that people who design and manage services are aware of the issues you raise.
- Provide an early warning system for NHS Trusts and monitoring bodies by identifying problems or gaps in services and reporting them.
Find Out More
The Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) offers a free and independent service that can help you make a complaint about your National Health Service (NHS) care or treatment. Call the helpline on 01273 229002 or visit their website http://www.bh-impetus.org/projects/independent-complaints-advocacy-service-icas/.
If you remain dissatisfied with the response of your complaint, you have the right to ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review your case. You can contact them by writing to:
- The Health Service Ombudsman for England, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP or telephoning on 0845 1054033.
Healthwatch is the national consumer champion in health and care. We have significant statutory powers to ensure the voice of the consumer is strengthened and heard by those who commission, deliver and regulate health and care services. You can contact Healthwatch by telephoning 02476 252011.