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Compliments and Complaints

What is the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)?
Our patients, service users and carers are the most important people in the NHS. The Trust’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) for mental health and learning disabilities is here to help ensure that you receive the best possible service when you are under our care. PALS is here to help you if you: 

  • Don’t know what’s happening?

  • Want information but don’t know where to get it?

  • Want to sort out a situation but don’t want to complain?

  • Want to complain but are not sure how?

  • Want to speak to someone but not sure who?

How does PALS work?
We can provide telephone advice and will listen to your queries and concerns, and try to get them sorted out as quickly as possible. In order to do this we may need to contact other health care staff. We will only do this with your permission.


The PALS service is confidential.

We will not contact other people on your behalf without your consent. PALS is designed as an additional service to support patients, relatives, carers, friends of patients or members of the public in navigating the NHS system. If you have questions or concerns about the services the Trust provides, we are here to listen.

The service does not prevent people from talking to the person responsible for their care, but instead is an additional service to support them. PALS does not offer counselling, diagnosis or any medical advice, and does not replace the Trust’s complaints system. If you are still unhappy after contacting the PALS office you can make a formal complaint.


Making a complaint

In the first instance, you can speak confidentially to the person providing your care - or ask to speak to the person in charge of the team. Speaking to someone in the Trust who supports you, or has done so, gives us the opportunity to sort things our more quickly. 

If after speaking with a member of staff or PALS, you feel that your concern has not been satisfactorily resolved, PALS can then support you to make a formal complaint. Making a complaint will not affect the way you are treated.  


Data Protection
PALS may occasionally need to collect personal information from you, your relatives or carers. This is to help us deal with your concerns, and provide you with the best possible service. All information will be treated as confidential and will be kept in accordance with the current data protection legislation.


How to contact PALS or make a complaint

Email: hpft.pals@nhs.net

Tel: 01707 253916
Monday to Friday 9am - 3pm, excluding bank holidays

Write to: Patient Advice and Liaison Service, HPFT Head Office, The Colonnades, Beaconsfield Road, Hatfield, AL10 8YE

Click the 'Online Form' button on the left hand side of this page.

We will contact you within three working days to let you know we have received your complaint and explain how we will deal with it.

Within 35 working days you will receive a full reply including, if appropriate, an apology and an explanation of what we are doing to put things right. If we need longer than 35 working days we will contact to you to agree a new timescale.


What happens if you are not satisfied?

Once every attempt to resolve your complaint has been made, either in writing or by meeting with staff, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to review the way the Trust has handled your complaint.  The PHSO works jointly with the Local Government Ombudsman if a complaint covers both health and social care.

The Ombudsman is independent of government and of the NHS and the service is confidential and free. There are time limits for taking a complaint to the Ombudsman, although she can waive them if she thinks there is a good reason to do so. You can contact the PHSO helpline on 0345 015 4033, or email phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk or you can write to the Ombudsman at PHSO, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 2QP.

Our  How Was Your Experience Today? leaflet (or for our Easy Read Guide to Making a Comment, Compliments and Complaint leaflet please click here ) contains some useful information about other organisations:

Hertfordshire County Council Adult Care Services
Carers in Hertfordshire www.carersinherts.org.uk
Age Concern www.ageconcern.org.uk
Help the Aged www.helptheaged.org.uk
Citizens Advice Bureau www.citizensadvice.org.uk
MIND www.mind.org.uk
MENCAP www.mencap.org.uk
Alzheimers Society www.alzeiheimers.org.uk
National Schizophrenia Foundation www.rethink.org
Royal National Institute for the Blind www.rnib.org.uk
Royal National Institute for the Deaf www.rnid.org.uk

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