What is the Patient Advocacy and Liaison Service (PALS)?
The aim of the Patient Advocacy & Liaison Service (PALS) is to offer confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters and provide a point of contact for patients and service users of the Gibraltar Health Authority. This is a new pilot service provided by the GHA.
The PALS provides help in many ways. For example, it can:
- help with health service-related questions (not medical)
- help resolve concerns or problems when using or accessing the GHA
PALS can provide service users and patients information about:
- the GHA in general, services, departments, locations, contacts, etc.
- the GHA Complaints Procedure
- support groups outside the GHA
- information on department or service activities
The Patient Advocacy and Liaison Service also helps to improve the GHA by listening to service user concerns and suggestions.
The Patient Advocacy and Liaison Service will be a point of contact for patients, their families and carer’s and liaises closely with GHA staff to help service users with any questions or concerns they have about their care.
- is a confidential service, however, we may have to pass on certain information if there is any suggestion of abuse or neglect.
- cannot legally pass on confidential information regarding your family member without their permission.
- will try to sort out your concern as quickly as possible, if we cannot do so within five working days we will discuss alternatives with you.
- cover the whole Trust and provide an independent point of contact for people who may not wish to talk directly, go the team / department in which you have concerns about.
We are open weekdays between 09:00 and 15:00 (excluding weekends and bank holidays).
An answerphone may also be in operation, please leave your name and contact details and someone will return your call as soon as possible.
We promise to:
- take you seriously.
- listen carefully.
- provide you with an explanation.
- respect confidentiality.
- do all we can to make amends to you and your family.
Your care will not be adversely affected by any comments or complaints you make. In fact, it is more likely to help improve things for.
What the Patient Advocacy and Liaison Service cannot do for you.
- The office cannot provide a counselling service
- The office cannot provide medical information or medical diagnosis
- The office cannot change or affect a medical decision already made
- The office cannot investigate formal complaints but will provide support and assistance on the process to make a formal complaint.
Help and support
If you visit PALS in person or contact us by telephone or email, we will do everything possible to answer your enquiries promptly. This might involve finding information, or listening to your situation and giving advice or putting you in touch with other services.
If you contact us Monday –Friday, 9am – 3pm and we will start working on your enquiry on the same day.
If you leave an answer phone message outside these hours, we will start work on your enquiry on the next working day.
If your question or concern requires the involvement of staff in any of our clinical services (doctors, nurses or service managers), those members of staff will take action as soon as possible. At the latest, you can expect to receive a response from a clinical service within 5 working days of contacting PALS.
- We will offer a supportive and non-judgmental response to your experience.
- We will take practical action to answer questions and resolve concerns.
- We will be visible and accessible. You can speak to a member of the team at St Bernard’s Hospital offices between Monday –Friday, 9am – 3pm. If you cannot visit us because you are a patient on a ward, then a member of the team can arrange to visit you on the ward.
- We will respect your right to confidentiality and independence. This means that, unless there are exceptional circumstances, we will not share information or take action unless a patient has given consent (permission).
- If your question or concern is being addressed within a clinical service, we will liaise closely with the service to check that action is being taken.
PALS cannot provide advocacy, diagnosis or medical advice. However, we can raise your concerns and questions with experts who provide these services.
PALS problem-solving is sometimes called ‘informal resolution’. If a concern cannot be resolved informally through PALS’ discussion and liaison with clinical services, you might wish to raise your concerns in a formal complaint.
A formal complaint is a longer-term investigation than a PALS case, and all communication throughout the process is followed up in writing.
Making a Complaint:
Complaints and problems can often be resolved at a department level, so if you are unhappy and feel you can talk to a member of staff please do so. You can ask to speak to the Sister or Charge Nurse, Duty Manager or Clinical Nurse Manager in your area about your query/ concerns and they will discuss with you and us about how best to resolve the issue. We ask staff to pass on details of complaint they have resolved locally so that we can understand how they have resolved but also learn lessons across the GHA.
Sometimes we understand that you may wish to make a more formal complaint. There are a number of ways of doing so; just choose the one that suits you.
Complete our online form, which is available on our website.
Please note: If you are raising a query/ complaint on behalf of a patient we will require the patient consent to be able to respond to you.
What will happen next if you raise a formal complaint?
We will give you an acknowledgment within three working days.
After this stage we will offer to discuss your concerns and what you would like to happen; agree how we propose to resolve the issue and the time scales for doing so.
We will agree these with you. Our formal reply to your query/ complaint will usually be within 21 working days unless we notify you otherwise.
In our reply, we will aim to:
Show how we have listened to and investigated your concerns.
Provide a full apology for any shortcomings let you know we have changed process and systems for the future and share this learning with our team.
If you are not satisfied with our response to your query/ complaint, you can ask for a meeting or for us to explain or clarify our response.
We hope that you find this process easy to sue and helpful. If you are unsure, about what to do next please contact us and we can discuss the options. We know that some service users will be anxious about speaking up, but please be reassured we will take you seriously and we provide an explanation or solution.
Whatever you think about our services or staff, we want to hear from you. You may want to make a suggestion or comment; you may want to send a compliment about a staff member or service or you may want to complain.
We would like to know when our staff have gone beyond your expectations and appreciate compliments.
Not only do these help us provide feedback to staff when they have done well but they also help us to continue improving our services to benefit others.
To send a compliment about services that you have received, please email: [email protected]
9am to 3:00pm Mon – Friday.
The Office will be closed on Public Holidays and weekends.