Your views matter

Your views matter

We listen carefully to what our patients say about their care and encourage you to take the initiative and question anything you feel may affect your safety or wellbeing.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is a confidential service for people who would like information, help or who wish to comment about any aspect of the services provided at the hospital.

The PALS officer provides the opportunity for you to raise in confidence any issues and comments that you have about the care and service you receive from staff. PALS help the hospital to improve its services for patients.

PALS offers support, information and help to patients, their families and visitors. They can help you to sort out your issues by speaking on your behalf to anyone involved in your care, or the care of your relative or friend.

PALS will not speak to anyone about your concerns unless they have your permission to do so.

PALS can help by:

  • Supporting you through what is often an anxious time as a patient, relative, friend or visitor
  • Providing advice and information on NHS services
  • Actively listening and responding to concerns, suggestions or queries to help resolve them quickly
  • Advising on the complaints process if you wish to make a complaint, and how to seek independent advice
  • Record and log comments and concerns, so that we can identify any themes and use them to learn from

At the hospital

The PALS Office is in the main entrance of the hospital.

The office is open from Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:30am- excluding bank and public holidays.

By telephone

01204 390193. An answer service is available.

By email

In writing

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
Minerva Road

If you feel like you would like to make a formal complaint, you can do this by contacting the PALS team.

If have received or are receiving care and treatment you can make a complaint.

If you’re unable to complain yourself, someone else (usually a relative or friend) can make a complaint on your behalf, with your agreement.

What to include in your complaint

It is helpful if you provide as much information as you can, including the full name, date of birth and address of the patient, and dates of treatment if you know them.

We would like to know your expectations and your desired outcome from making a complaint.

Try to make your complaint as soon as you can. Complaints should be made within 12 months of the events you are unhappy about.

If the events are longer ago than this, we will consider your reasons for not complaining sooner and still investigate and respond if we can.

We understand that it sometimes takes time to think about making a complaint.

We may need to look at your medical records in order to answer your complaint. Please let us know straightaway if you have any questions or concerns about this.

Please be reassured that raising a complaint will not have a negative impact on the care and treatment you or your family receive here.

What happens when I make a complaint?

We will send you a written acknowledgment of your complaint within three working days of receiving it.

The investigation of your complaint will be co-ordinated by a member of our complaints team and the contact details for this person will be in the acknowledgment letter.

The acknowledgement letter will offer you a discussion with a member of the complaints team about how your complaint will be handled, how long the investigation is likely to take and when we are likely to be able to send you our response.

We aim to respond to complaints within 30, 45 or 60 working days, depending on how complex the issues are. We will keep you updated if the investigation is likely to take longer.

In the unlikely event that it takes longer than six months to respond to your complaint in writing, we will write to you to explain the reasons why.

We usually respond to complaints in writing and send the response letter to you through the post. If you would like us to communicate with you via email, please let us know that you are happy for us to do this.

The response to your complaint will be made up of a letter signed by the Chief Executive and another letter which forms an investigation report.

All investigation reports are reviewed by a member of the hospital’s executive team.

If you are not happy with the response, the complaints case manager handling your case will be pleased to discuss how we can resolve any outstanding issues. We can send you a further written response or arrange a meeting.

If a meeting would be the best way forward, we can arrange for you to discuss your complaint with senior medical or nursing staff.

It is usually best for a meeting to take place after you have received a written response to your complaint. You can bring someone with you to support you at a meeting.

If we consider that we can do nothing further to resolve your complaint locally, we will inform you of this in writing.

You then have the option to request that the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) undertakes an independent review of your complaint and how we handled it.

If your complaint is made verbally and we can resolve it to your satisfaction no later than the next working day after it is made, we will not register the issue as a formal complaint.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) provides a service to the public by undertaking independent investigations into complaints which have not been resolved at a local level. This is the second stage in the complaints procedure.

In most cases the PHSO will not investigate a complaint unless it has already been made to the hospital and all other options of resolution have been explored.

We will tell you if we consider that we can take no further action to resolve your complaint and provide information about the PHSO.

You can also contact Healthwatch Bolton. Healthwatch is an independent organisation which ensures that people have a say in important decisions about their health and social care services in their area.

Healthwatch can also signpost you to other services.

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