Practical issues

Share experiences and advice on practical issues when living with cancer, such as money, work, benefits, transport, food and drink, organising support at home, or getting specialist equipment.

PALS

Dead meat
Posted by

HI,

I want to hear what people believe is the purpose of the PALS system in hospitals, because I have looked up the definition on the NHS website and my hospital's PALS department  (which doesn't even call itself that) is a customer services office interested only in keeping the hospital from getting a complaint.

When I found the office the woman was unsure that she could do anything if I didn't have a complaint about staff.

So what's yours like?

D

Thehighlander
Posted by

Hi D , I have not used the PALs system in my hospital, but do know others who have and from what I have been told the system was effective for them.

It depends what you were expecting to get from going to them. In any case you can make complaints through other avenues some of witch are detailed in the NHS PALs link above.

You may find our various Macmillan Support Line Services to be helpful - call them on 0808 808 00 00 This free service covers Emotional Support, Practical Information. Clinical Information, Financial Support and Work Guidance mostly open 8.00 to 8.00 but check the link.

All the best in your information search.

Mike - Thehighlander

It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

Dead meat
Posted by

Hi,

I have read the NHS's idea of what PALS should be, my hospitals PALS service which they prefer is called Customer Care is really only interested in feedback. 

I was wondering if this is the general experience of PALS or whether it is specific to my hospital which likes to run a highly compartmentalised system.

D

Thehighlander
Posted by

Let’s look for more folks to get back to you with first hand experiences.

The issues the folks that I know who have used the PALs in the various hospital I have been under covered: quality (failings) in professional care, condition of the facility, waiting times, attitude of consultants........ as well as putting in supportive  comments about the care they have received.

This was across many individual departments ((hugs))

Mike - Thehighlander

It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

Dead meat
Posted by

Hi, 

The leaflet that I was given by my Customer Care Team (Don't call us pals) could have been produced by a bank or any other complaints department of a large organisation they even tell you that if your complaint isn't resolved then contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

I received the same kind of leaflet when I complained to my insurance provider a few years ago.

Isn't PALS supposed to be more than that?

Please anybody chip in.

I'm just curious if this unique to Basingstoke which at times just seems  interested in the numbers.

D

The BODACH
Posted by

Hi, I'm sorry to hear that you are experiencing problems with your hospital service, I must admit that I thought that the PALS service was uniform throughout the NHS no matter which country of the UK you were in.

I regret to say that I've had cause to use the PALS service twice at my hospital trust twice, once by a face to face meeting and the other by email, in both instances the response was the same acknowledgment by post within 3 days setting out the procedure and how long it would take, once an investigation was started and being investigated I was kept informed all the time either by telephone or letter once the concern had been fully investigated I received a letter signed by the Chief Executive with the opportunity to address any points I was not happy with. If I still was not happy I could take the matter further and information  was given on how to do this.

I also had the opportunity to take the matter up with the areas CCG.

In my local trust the PALS service is the name implies the liaison between the patient or relative and the hospital management.

The hospital that I attend is not the best in the world in many respects but they excel when a complaint is made nothing is swept under carpet.

It also helps that the Chief Executive started on the "factory floor" and worked his way up.

This what I can expect from my local hospital trust 

Concerns and Complaints

We are sorry that you have not been completely satisfied with the care you or a family member received at our hospitals.

To help resolve your concerns as quickly as possible, please speak to a senior member of staff or a matron.  We also have a patient advice and liaison service (PALS team) who can provide you with advice and support. They will also help you raise any concerns with our staff should you wish them to help you in that way; they can also help advise you if you decide to make a formal complaint – see below for how to do this.

Listed below are two helpful resources – an information leaflet on raising concerns and complaints with the Trust, as well as our current policy on handling complaints and concerns:

Comments and concerns large print

Comments and concerns easy read

Complaints procedure 

How do I make a formal complaint?

If you are not happy with the response from our staff, or all of your concerns have not been addressed, please make an official complaint to the Trust.  To so this, you will need to write to our chief executive, Nick Carver at the address below.

Nick Carver

Chief Executive

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

Lister Hospital

Coreys Mill Lane

Stevenage

Hertfordshire

SG1 4AB

Alternatively, you can email: patcomplaints.enh-tr@nhs.net

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)

If you make a formal complaint and are not satisfied with our response, you can discuss your concerns with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Write to:

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Millbank Tower

Millbank

London

SW1P 4QP

Alternatively you can call the PHSO complaints helpline on 0345 015 4033 or email them at phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk.

 

Believe me the mere mention of PALS to the hospital staff sees everyone buck up and take notice as they do not want the Chief Executive involved.

I am very happy with the service that my PALS office offers and are very helpful  in many other ways.

Ian

With a Stma Care and Management Certificate 

My Groups ● St●ma Support ● Bowel ● Carers ● Anal ● Family & Friends ● Bereavement ● Diagnosed at a Young Age ● Parents of Young Children ● New to the Community

You can call The Macmillan Support line on 0808 808 0000 every day 8am to 8pm

What is a Community Champion?

 How to update your PROFILE

The Bodach is LIVING WITH A ST● MA

The BODACH
Posted by

Hi

I've been reading your original post and wonder what prompted you to start the thread was it because your experienced some problem whilst you or someone else was a patient.

If you need to complain I would suggest that you bypass the "customer care team" and write directly to 

Alex Whitfield - Chief Executive

Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital,

Aldermaston Road,

Basingstoke,

Hampshire,

RG24 9NA

Telephone: 01256 473202

Stating your concerns about the hospital and hopefully the Chief Executive will take your concerns on board and start an investigation and try and resolve your concerns.

Please let us know if your concerns were addressed and you received a satisfactory explanation.

Ian

With a Stma Care and Management Certificate 

My Groups ● St●ma Support ● Bowel ● Carers ● Anal ● Family & Friends ● Bereavement ● Diagnosed at a Young Age ● Parents of Young Children ● New to the Community

You can call The Macmillan Support line on 0808 808 0000 every day 8am to 8pm

What is a Community Champion?

 How to update your PROFILE

The Bodach is LIVING WITH A ST● MA

LittleRunner
Posted by

A doctor referred me to PALS after I had a bad experience at a hospital in England (not Basingstoke). I think it took me a few phone-calls to get hold of PALS however eventually one of their staff advised me how to make a complaint.  I followed the advice and submitted a careful and accurate statement, drawing on my career experience of writing technical reports.  I then spent a lot of time chasing them for progress; timescales were exceeded and the investigation was flawed and inadequate.  Some of the fault lay with PALS and some with other staff.  PALS were feeble and listless when it came to supporting me or challenging anyone and I was given a series of wet excuses.  It seemed that they had no initiative and gave up at any obstacle, without trying to think of a way past it.  I got the idea that, rather like an HR department, they exist to prevent you taking the management to court. If I need to make a complaint about a hospital in future I will write directly to the Chief Executive and the CCG.

Dead meat
Posted by

Hi Ian,

I started this thread because of the confusing situation I found with this PALS scheme. I looked several times for the location of the PALS office and while I could find almost anything else when I arrived at Basingstoke's NHS site the acronym had vanished and having been to the hospital itself many times I couldn't ever remember a reference to it. 

So one visit on a whim I asked at the Health Information point because first they are approachable and second the reception staff can be rather patronising. The woman thought for a while and then said 'I think its that office over there but they don't call it that' so I tried 'that office over there' and was met by an abrupt woman who was appalled when I used the acronym. "We are customer care".

I was interested in two of their supposed aims health related questions and support groups what I got was directions to the cashiers office and as I said a leaflet about how to communicate with them, its full of pretty stock photos and the soothing words but I don't think that if I needed them as a source of information beyond the floor plan of the hospital they would much good. And as the lady at the HIP said I probably know more about bowel cancer having cared for a terminal patient than any of the leaflets could offer.

As for the CEO I complained to the previous CEO about the runaway thieving that went on when my dad was a patient what came back was a cheque in the post.

D

Dead meat
Posted by

Glad to see The Lister is still puttering on, I know that WGC bit the dust some time ago. 

D

The BODACH
Posted by

Thanks for the explanation, sorry you've had such a bad experience with the hospital, gone are the days when complaints are simply brushed under the carpet they like everyone else are answerable to someone else and subject to quality control and marked accordingly, looks like by changing the name they are whitewashing the complaints and should be brought to the attention of the local clinical commissioning group at the very least or if not a certain Mr Matt Hancock should be made aware.

The dust in WGC has settled and a brand new all singing all dancing New QE11 stands in the old carpark surrounded by flats. The hospital is very much a clinic based unit but no A&E and no beds everything happens at Stevenage which is getting larger by the day.

Is there another hospital you could get to avoiding the Basingstoke one?

Regards

Ian

With a Stma Care and Management Certificate 

My Groups ● St●ma Support ● Bowel ● Carers ● Anal ● Family & Friends ● Bereavement ● Diagnosed at a Young Age ● Parents of Young Children ● New to the Community

You can call The Macmillan Support line on 0808 808 0000 every day 8am to 8pm

What is a Community Champion?

 How to update your PROFILE

The Bodach is LIVING WITH A ST● MA

Dead meat
Posted by

No, here the choice is Basingstoke or Basingstoke - when we had chose and book it would say Basingstoke xxx clinic 1, Basingstoke xxx clinic 2 and so on. 

To me an ex Hertfordshire girl their self centred attitude is peculiar, some of them actually avoid leaving the confines of the town. Honestly its not that great, as I say there may be many Readings but there is only one Basingstoke!

Dead meat
Posted by

So I am writing a letter of complaint to the customer services department  of Basingstoke hospital not for any failure of care directed towards me but because of an experience they made me live.

There was a girl in the bed opposite me that had some unusual condition that left her in agonising pain, she came onto the ward suckling on an entonox cylinder. On my last day in the morning her pca ran out, it started alarming while she was asleep so being the accommodating type I called a nurse, who muted the alarm and told the hca they would need more.The nurse was agency staff so despite being well qualified she wasn't allowed to authorise drugs. In fact for over an hour there was nobody to authorise anything stronger than paracetamol Matron was just up the corridor conducting a meeting that the ward clerk said they were forbidden to disturb.

I had to watch this young woman wake in pain, writhe, clutch a vomit bowl and sob for an hour, I am really no good with social nuance I struggle to interact with people except through a medium like this, but an hour of watching someone that was the same age as my nieces... in the end I was sitting on her bed rubbing her leg and trying to get her to talk about her daughter a's a distraction. I narrated every step when the new tube for her pump arrived so that she hung on because I'm not fond of vomit but I know it's sh****** being sick.

After that I would have heartily slugged matron because her meeting was so important that she left the ward with inadequate staff. In the end it was sister front the neighbouring ward that stepped in. 

If this is adequate patient care at Basingstoke then send me to Reading

D

Dead meat
Posted by

I had the acknowledgement  from customer care, the usual stuff, we will investigate and so on, we want more personal details  from you, we want to phone you, we want you to come in and meet with us. Sorry I can't do either, at the moment I can't drive which is the only way to make the journey. And I just don't give out my phone number to people that are randomly going to call. It's part of the whole anxiety disorder.  They also say I should contact the county advocacy  service which worries me a bit, do they think I am too deluded to speak for myself or are they planning a scream shout dressing down for having the gall to complain?

I'm happy to give my mobile number because the service at home is so poor it's limited to texts and the odd call that drops out after a few seconds. Probably doesn't help that I'm on a proper pay tariff so I'm first to be dumped when the tower reaches its limit.

I suppose i'll just wait and see.

D