As a patient, relative or carer sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice and support.
Our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) can help with:
- Information and advice about health services, voluntary organisations, support groups and advocacy.
- Support to resolve quickly and informally any concerns or queries that you may have about your healthcare or give you details of someone who can help.
You can be confident that issues you raise will be taken seriously and that your feedback will be used to improve services.
Alternatively, if you want to make a complaint, our dedicated team will support you in making a complaint, guide you through the complaint process and if necessary, advise you of independent advocacy services.
What will happen when I contact PALS?
One of our PALS staff will listen to your enquiry and where you request information we will provide this. If we are not able to provide the information when you contact us, we will make enquiries or advise you where you can get the details.
When you request advice or support you can speak to our staff in confidence and discuss any issues or problems you or someone close to you might be experiencing with local healthcare services. We will talk through the issue with you and discuss how we might be able to help. You do not need to give your name and we will not speak to your health professionals or anyone else without your permission.
Making a complaint
If you are unhappy with the way you have been treated by the NHS, you have the right to make a complaint, have it considered, and receive a response from the organisation concerned.
Who can complain?
You can make a complaint if you have been, or are likely to be, affected by the actions of any part of the NHS. You can also complain on behalf of someone else if you can show you have their consent or legal authority such as power of attorney.
What is the time limit for making a complaint?
Your complaint should be raised within 12 months of the date of an incident or of when you become aware of the issue. This timescale can be extended in exceptional cases.
Listening to you to help us learn and improve
We view all feedback, both positive and negative, as an opportunity to learn and improve our services.
Where there has been a mistake or where systems need to be changed or improved, we will acknowledge this and let you know what action will be taken.
The NHS complaints procedure
The NHS complaints procedure has two stages.
The first stage is called 'local resolution' and most concerns are resolved at this stage.
You can raise your concern by either contacting the manager of the service concerned or the complaints team of the organisation which manages the service.
We recommend that in most cases that you should try and resolve your concern by raising your complaint directly with the service provider or a health care professional who is directly involved in your care. You will find a list of the most likely local organisations you may have been treated by here.
The NHS Sussex complaints team can handle complaints about the funding of, and access to, NHS services, or about decisions made by the Primary Care Trust and in some circumstances we can handle complaints about primary care services (e.g. GPs, dentists and opticians).
Exceptionally we can handle or manage complaints about other local NHS services such as hospitals and community services. We will be happy to discuss your complaint with you if you are not sure who to contact.
If your concern cannot be resolved within 24 hours, you will receive an acknowledgement either written or by telephone and your issues will be fully investigated. We aim to get back to you with the result of our investigation within 30 working days and we will let you know if there is likely to be a delay.
We are always happy to discuss your concerns after you have received your response; it is important to us that you feel we have done all we can to resolve the concern and respond to you.
Stage two - if you are still unhappy, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to review your complaint. The Ombudsman’s number is 0345 015 4033 or you can complete an online form on their website.
Independent advice and support
If you feel you want help and support in raising your concerns you can contact Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS)
They are a free, impartial service who should be able to advise you and may be able to help draft correspondence or accompany you to meetings.
Your local branch can be contacted by calling: 0845 600 8616 or 0330 440 9000 or emailing email@example.com