Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
Customer Care –PALS and Complaints
Whilst all staff working in the NHS try to do their best to offer a high quality service, unfortunately sometimes things do go wrong. Our Customer Care team provides both a Patient Advice and Liaison service (PALS) and a complaints service and can help to resolve concerns or problems.
Many issues can be resolved quickly and simply; at other times a more appropriate way forward might be to make a complaint under the NHS Complaints process. Contact the Team to discuss, confidentially, the options available regarding the issues that are concerning you.
PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)
PALS aim to:
- 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.
NHS Complaints Procedure
Sometimes it might be more appropriate to raise the concern using the NHS Complaints Procedure. In this way the issues will be investigated and a written response will be provided.
The NHS complaints procedure covers complaints about the provision of NHS services by NHS organisations. The procedure also covers services provided by non-NHS providers where the NHS has paid for them.
If the concerns raised involve more than one NHS organisation, these can be investigated jointly so that you receive a single response. This also applies where Local Authority Social Care services are involved.
How do I complain?
You can complain directly to the service that you wish to complain about, for example a GP, Dentist, Pharmacy, Optician, Community Service or hospital. Each will have its own complaints procedure and systems in place for handling complaints; they may be able to resolve your concerns without the need to make a formal complaint. All of these will have someone who is responsible for dealing with complaints and you can direct your complaint to that person.
What if I don’t want to contact them directly?
If your query, concern or complaint involves a GP, Dentist, Pharmacy or Optician you can contact the National Commissioning Board through their Contact Centre:
By post: NHS Commissioning Board, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT.
Electronically using the commissioning board's email address: England.firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write 'For the attention of the Complaint's Manager' in the subject line.
By telephone: 0300 311 22 33 (Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm, excluding English Bank Holidays). Your complaint will be noted and passed to the Complaints Manager.
For any other NHS service talk to our Customer Care Team who can discuss this with you. We can also tell you about ICAS who can provide free help and support to make your complaint, see below.
How long will I have to wait until I get a response to my complaint?
The service you are complaining about will acknowledge your complaint and agree a response time with you. You should receive an acknowledgment, either verbal or written, within three working days of the service receiving your complaint.
What is the time limit for making a complaint?
You should normally complain within 12 months of the event concerned or within 12 months of becoming aware that you have something to complain about. The time limit might be waived if there are good reasons why you could not complain earlier.
Why we value your feedback
We welcome your feedback or complaint as these are vital in improving our services and will not affect the treatment or care you receive.
Further advice can be obtained from our leaflet ‘Customer Care – PALS and Complaints (How can we help?)
The leaflet provides additional information about the complaints process, including the following
- Who can complain?
- The next stage of the complaints process – The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
- Where you can get independent advice and help?
Customer Care - PALS and Complaints, NHS Tameside and Glossop, New Century House, Progress Way, Windmill Lane, Denton, Manchester, M34 2GP
Telephone: 0161 304 5307/5325
Fax: 0161 304 5401
If you are writing to us please consider providing a daytime telephone number, if you can, so that if we need to we can call you to discuss your concerns.
Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust also has its own PALS service; this can be contacted on 0161 922 4466.