LEGAL EAGLE: What can I do if I’m unhappy with NHS treatment?

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Q. Who can I turn to if I am experiencing some difficulties with the way in which my treatment is being provided at an NHS hospital?

A. Help is at hand following the implementation of the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS).

If you are experiencing difficulties with communication and/or treatment at an NHS hospital then you may contact PALS.

PALS offers a confidential service of advice and support to patients like yourself and family if necessary.

They can provide you with assistance in resolving problems and any concerns you have very quickly.

The PALS team at the NHS hospital will liaise with staff, managers and, were appropriate, any other relevant or involved organisations to negotiate a speedy solution to any problems you may be experiencing.

You can ask for the contact details of PALS from the hospital who will provide it to you.

PALS is also there to provide you with accurate information about the particular Trust services and any other health related issues, using accredited, reliable sources.

Q. What if my problems extended to my local General Practitioner?

A. The Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) also covers the Trusts that govern the provision of healthcare by your General Practitioner.

The Primary Care Trusts PALS as they are known will work in a similar fashion to assist you with any problems you are experiencing with your General Practitioner and they will not only work in their own area, but also work across organisational boundaries to ensure that services you are receiving from parts of the NHS are given attention to ensure as best as they can that you receive the care that you need no matter which section of the NHS is providing that care.

Q. What if I am not satisfied with the outcome after the involvement of PALS?

A. The next stage would be to make a complaint under the formal NHS complaints procedure.

This can provide an explanation about what has happened and an apology.

The complaints procedure should enable you to get more information about why decisions have been made in the provision of your care.

There is a time limit applicable to bringing a complaint of 12 months from the date of you becoming aware of a problem.

Where appropriate you can take advantage of the formal NHS complaints procedure by seeking the assistance of the local independent complaints advocacy provider (this is a free service).

Your local provider is the Carers Federation who can be contacted on.

My firm can provide you with contact details if you require them.